Nuclear Cybersecurity Research

The Office of Nuclear Energy sponsors cross-cutting R&D to enable the use of advanced digital​ technologies in the U.S. nuclear fleet. The Nuclear Cybersecurity Research (NCR) program serves both the current nuclear fleet and designers of advanced reactors and related technologies under development. There is a wide array of industrial control systems R&D happening already, and this program has established a narrow scope to avoid duplicating those. We aim to adapt the best cybersecurity discoveries and practices from other sectors to the rigorous needs of nuclear power applications and to address any unique challenges not being addressed elsewhere, especially where these can enable innovative nuclear power use cases.

Key near-term program goals​

Diagram depicting security testing. Click image to enlarge.
  • Developing models and methods to prioritize cybersecurity risk​​s in nuclear plant control systems, for more effective and economically efficient risk management;
  • Supporting advanced reactor designers with tools and techniques for considering cybersecurity by design;
  • Removing any barriers to implementing modern cybersecurity best practices in nuclear power applications; and
  • ​​Investigating and addressing any cybersecurity challenges in future technologies and use cases (e.g. machine learning, autonomous control, wireless controls). ​

Industry Engagement

The NCR program seeks continuous engagement with nuclear industry innovators, to ensure that we are advancing the right solutions at the needed pace. In late 2022, the program is conducting a focused set of meetings to support an updated cybersecurity R&D roadmap and program plan. The goals of these efforts a​re to:

  • Understand the near-term and longer-term plans for deploying advanced digital technology in current and future nuclear plants;
  • Solicit the views of nuclear reactor designers, operators, digital systems suppliers and cybersecurity service providers, on how cybersecurity is being addressed and any challenges they are already aware of;
  • Once the needs are identified and prioritized, support industry participants with existing resources as available and identify R&D gaps that can inform the NCR program’s work plans.
  • If you would like to participate in this process, please contact us via the information at the bottom of this page. ​
How the Sandia Nuclear Cybersecurity Research program exists within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy framework, including key stakeholders. Click image to enlarge.

National Security Webinars

GAIN Nuclear Cybersecurity Webinar Feb. 7, 2023



Program Structure

The Nuclear Energy Cybersecurity R&D Program seeks to comprehend and leverage inputs from multiple areas and organizations, including:

  • General Industrial Control System Cybersecurity R&D for security practices and technologies
  • Critical Infrastructure R&D, for example: DOE CESER and DHS CISA
  • The Nuclear Environment including industry needs and plans, regulatory concerns, etc.



National Technical Director

Lon Dawson, Sandia National Laboratories


Office: 505-844-5220

Mobile: 505-270-7308

PO Box 5800, MS 1136, Albuquerque, NM 87185-1136​

Deputy-National Technical Director

Katya LeBlanc, Idaho National Laboratories


Office: 208-526-1395

Mobile: 575-650-8126

PO Box 1625, MS 3840, Idaho Falls, ID 83415-3840

Federal Program Manager

Rebecca Onuschak


Mobile: 301-903-0023