Exposing the Russian spies who attempted to hack a Kansas nuclear plant | KCUR 89.3


Three young Russian spies, Pavel, Mikhail and Marat, working from computers in a 27-story skyscraper at 12 Prospekt Vernadskogo in Moscow, over five years targeted the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Burlington, Kansas.

They were on a sophisticated cyber reconnaissance mission to learn about the inner workings of the plant to prepare for a possible precision electronic assault by the Russians.

That is the story that broke March 24, when the U.S. Department of Justice suddenly and somewhat mysteriously unsealed an indictment against the hapless trio. The indictment was filed under seal on Aug. 26, 2021, in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas, and lay gathering dust for seven months.

Context matters, and in this case it explains why the Sunflower State and its lone nuclear plant have been woven into a saga laced with John le Carré spy novel overtones.

The bloody context is the devastating war Russia launched weeks ago against Ukraine. It also includes the remarkably successful psychological warfare ops that the Biden administration and its Western European allies have thrown at Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war machine.

James Lewis, a nuclear cybersecurity expert, said that the DOJ indictment probably was unsealed in Kansas now because the Biden administration has fresh intelligence about the Russians and it wants those overseeing America’s critical infrastructure to be on heightened alert.

“Maybe the Russians are giving more consideration to a cyberattack than in the past. It is driven by what the Russians are up to,” said Lewis, director of the Strategic Technology Program of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington.

Wolf Creek, completed in 1985, is located about 100 miles southwest of Kansas City. Evergy, formerly Kansas City Power & Light, owns 94% of Wolf Creek and the balance is owned by the Kansas Electric Power Cooperative.

A nuclear plant by a cooling pond

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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The Wolf Creek nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kansas.

Evergy declined to discuss the Russian cybersecurity attack on Wolf Creek. Their statement…

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