Chattanooga Utility Demonstrates Next-gen Grid Security with Quantum Key Distribution. Chatanooga utility, EPB, has been working with Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Laboratories to test interoperability of disparate quantum key distribution networks. The test was to ensure utility providers nationwide have interoperability sufficient to employ QKD.
The exercise took place at the EPB facility, considered an ideal partner due to the utility’s fiber optic network within its electrical distribution infrastructure.
“For EPB, partnering with Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Laboratories is an opportunity to field test new technologies and best practices to help maintain the security and reliability of the power grid for everyone in America,” said Steve Morrison, EPB’s Director of Information Security. “We’re honored to do our part to assist the progress of this important effort.”
What They Did. The ORNL researchers, using a modified commercial QKD system, and Los Alamos, using its own in-house system, generated separate, secure encryption keys. When these keys met at an intermediate node, a third key was generated. This third key was then successfully distributed to ORNL and Los Alamos.
“This demonstration accomplished two things: it showed that different systems can operate together and it established the functionality needed to relay keys over larger distances often encountered on the electric grid,” said Peters, leader of ORNL’s quantum communications team.
With QKD, providing a virtually hack-free computing environment for critical infrastructure applications is one of the greatest features of the second quantum revolution.