Wildlife Pose a Risk to Supercomputer at National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Lab reports raccoons and possums have gotten into the infrastructure.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which has a campus in rural Tennessee that encompasses more than 4,400 acres, is home to two of the fastest supercomputers in the world. The facility’s location is intended to strategically protect the computers, used by the U.S. Department of Energy for advanced research in models and datasets.

Director of science at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, Bronson Messer, said the proximity to nature has enabled wildlife to access the infrastructure that supports the operations of the lab. He said, “There’s lots of raccoons and possums around here. And unfortunately, we’ve taken a few out.”

Director Messer added, “Power feed? I mean, it tastes good to wildlife. They bite into a 480-volt line and it’s not a good scene.” 

Lab officials are seeking to protect the physical security of the digital infrastructure as well as cybersecurity. Director Messer said they have “added bands around power poles that keep animals from climbing them. We also improved fencing around substations. Finally, we have done some infrastructure cleanup to remove obvious risks from trees and limbs.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For discernment for Secretary Jennifer Granholm as she oversees the Energy Department.
  • For Director Messer as he seeks to protect the Oak Ridge lab infrastructure as well as the wildlife in the surrounding area.

Sources: FedScoop, Lab Manager


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