EDF, Thales and Ericsson have partnered on CONNECT, a project to bring secure cellular connectivity to all of EDF’s nuclear energy sites in France. Thales, a leader in network design and operation, is deploying secure communications services while also guaranteeing the overall system integration and secure networking. Ericsson is providing innovative 4G private mobile network products as well as the core network, to ensure high-performance connectivity, resilience, and security.
Due to the specific needs of the energy giant, cybersecurity is a key element of this collaboration and has been integrated into every step of deployment.
The new private mobile network solution will enhance site performance, maintenance, operations, and logistics. Enhanced connectivity, for example, will allow EDF employees and their partners to have remote access to all needed resources via secure terminals. The new network infrastructure has been purpose built for EDF, ensuring that the specific needs of the nuclear power provider, such as scalability, flexibility, and cybersecurity are in place. An evolution towards 5G is possible in the long term.
The first nuclear plant to benefit from the CONNECT project is Blayais. After a successful joint pilot, connectivity at the Blayais site is now being operated independently by EDF. Rollout of the system to EDF’s other power plants is scheduled for 2021 at a rate of two to four plants per year.