Thales, Ericsson Deploy Private LTE Networks at French Nuclear Energy Plants
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Comments

EDF, Thales and Ericsson partnered on CONNECT, a project to bring secure cellular connectivity to all of EDF’s nuclear energy sites in France.

"The CONNECT project enables the integration of new use cases linked to the digital transition in our production units, including in the industrial field,” said Bruno Suty, director of information systems and digital at EDF’s Nuclear and Thermal Production Division. “The deployment of this secure 4G network really enables us to improve performance and efficiency. The access and transmission of data in real time, including in nuclear zones, and the clustering of applications on a single terminal will considerably simplify the work of teams in the field."

Thales is deploying secure communications services while also guaranteeing the overall system integration and secure networking. Ericsson is providing 4G private network solutions, as well as the core network, to ensure high-performance connectivity, resilience and security.

“Thales is delighted to be able to contribute to France's excellence of EDF thanks to the CONNECT project,” said Jean-Claude Schmitt, vice president, networks and infrastructure systems at Thales. “With recognized expertise and world-class equipment, Thales combines its know-how with the innovation and performance of the French SMB ecosystem to provide a secure, fully integrated system that meets our customers' specific needs."

Due to EDF’s specific needs, cybersecurity is a key element of this collaboration and has been integrated into every step of deployment. The new private 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 business documentation while also allowing support from back-office experts via secure terminals. It will also allow EDF employees and their partners to have remote access via secure terminals to all business documentation, while also allowing support from back-office experts. And thanks to the private network, on-site workers will have easy access to a centralized information system, which will boost performance and agility, alongside enhancing personal security. Maintenance will also be simplified through the seamless sharing and exchange of data.

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, the connectivity solution at the Blayais site is now being operated independently by EDF. Rollout of the solution to EDF’s other power plants is scheduled to begin in 2021 with a rate of two-to-four plants per year.

“Critical national infrastructure requires high-level performance and trust, so we are very pleased at Ericsson to be working on such an important rollout alongside EDF and Thales,” said Åsa Tamsons, senior vice president and head of business area technologies and new businesses. “Ericsson’s private network solutions are a robust platform that unlock huge benefits for industries with unrivalled security. Our networks allow for a natural upgrade to 5G, so we can keep innovating alongside EDF for tomorrow.”

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