Onsite secure data recovery for a nuclear power plant

Onsite Data Recovery Saves Critical Infrastructure for a Nuclear Power Plant

When an aging computer workstation went offline at a nuclear power plant in Arkansas, the IT staff had nobody onsite with the technical abilities to correct the problem. They needed skilled technicians with the necessary pedigree and credentials to correct the problem. After conducting diligent research, they turned to Secure Data Recovery.

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Categories: Desktop and Laptop Data Recovery


Michael Pitt is a security officer at the Nuclear One Generating Station in Russellville, Arkansas. The plant is part of Entergy Arkansas, which has provided power to the state for more than a century. It serves 728,000 customers across 63 counties and employs 3,500 people.

The nuclear plant uses a Sun Microsystems SPARKstation 5 Aurora workstation with two 2 GB IBM hard drives running Solaris 2.3. The single-processor workstation, enclosed in a chassis, stores important historical data for one of the plant’s computer systems.

In 2015, one of the IBM drives failed and was removed from the workstation. Since that time, it had been operating with a single drive. In early 2022, the system froze up. A technician onsite thought corruption was the cause. He attempted a reboot to bring it back online, but the system got caught in an endless boot cycle.
Nuclear power facilities use computer systems to monitor and control operations at their plants. All computer operations must follow strict cybersecurity regulations to protect them from external cyberattacks. Given the sensitive nature of the information stored at the site and the nature of these regulations, the Nuclear One facility required assessment and data recovery to be performed onsite with the strictest security protocols to ensure the integrity of their cybersecurity management control systems.

Secure Data Recovery Services dispatched one of its expert engineers to the Russellville plant with a certified clean bench to evaluate the failed SPARCstation drives onsite. The clean bench allows a technician to create a portable cleanroom environment using a laminar flow work cabinet. It uses HEPA-filtered air to ensure the work environment is particle-free and won’t cause additional damage to internal drive components during diagnostic analysis and data recovery.

Our onsite specialist conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the failed workstation drive. This included a visual inspection for any sign of abnormalities as well as testing of PCB and power function, and an analysis of appropriate S.M.A.R.T attributes.

The recovery engineer was able to meet all the objectives required for Entergy’s legacy system. The full contents of the failed drive, about 1 GB of data, was safely extracted to a compatible match.
Secure Data Recovery meets the industry’s highest security standards. Our facilities and data handling practices undergo regular SSAE 18 Type II SOC 1, Type 1 SOC 2, and SOC 3 audits. We’re also a GSA Approved Contractor with more than a decade of experience serving local and federal government agencies to achieve their objectives.
When you choose Secure Data Recovery, you work with a highly-credentialed engineering team capable of assisting with the most complex data loss situations, regardless of whether the work must be performed in-lab, remotely, or onsite under your supervision.

Call us at 800-388-1266 for a free consultation, or visit our website to learn more about our onsite data recovery services.