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Welcome to the Sesame Project


SESAME is a FP7-security project cofunded by the European Commission, aiming at providing a contribution to the development of tools and a regulation framework for the security of the European power grid against natural, accidental and malicious attacks.

The security of critical infrastructures is a hot topic all over the western world. On one side, infrastructures have grown in complexity and related vulnerability. On the other, a vast number of hazards, both due to accidental causes and to intentional attacks, threatens critical infrastructures and may have disastrous effects on society from the social and economic point of view. Power systems are a key critical infrastructure system; since power systems are vital to the whole society, the social impact of power system failures is paramount. Terrorist attacks to other critical infrastructures (such as railways and subways in several countries) make the issue of likely intentional attacks to power systems both substantial and urgent. In that respect, the protection against malicious attacks has become a key concern whose importance keeps growing. Intentional attacks may be physical (directed to components of power systems like substations, transmission lines, power plants and so on) and cyber (directed to monitoring systems, control and communication architectures, and so on).

Power systems are characterized by severe physical and operation constraints that need to be met to keep the system stable: the system’s intrinsic instability could only magnify the effect of an intentional attack. The outstanding importance and the far more complex level of interconnectivity of electricity distribution / transmission / generation – compared to the supply of other energy carriers makes the development of a highly focused toolkit for its protection an essential and urgent task.

SESAME develops a Decision Support System (DSS) for the protection of the European power transmission, distribution and generation system and applies it to two regional electricity grids. SESAME is to enable end-users:

  • to identify the vulnerabilities of the analyzed grid and production plants and to detect their origins,
  • to estimate the damage / impact of real or simulated network failures precisely,
  • to identify the possible measures for prevention of outages and acceleration of automatic restoration to rank these measures according to their effectiveness and their cost-benefit ratios,
  • to carry out contingency analyses of the transmission and distribution network and the generation facilities,
  • to detect long-term erroneous trends in the security of energy supply and to counteract against these trends by adjusting the market mechanisms leading to this development.

The consortium of SESAME brings together the most distinguished experts in the fields of power network security, technology policy and regulatory economics, impact assessment of disasters, network simulation software development and knowledge engineering. All project partners have proven their excellence in complex security research in earlier cooperative projects and most of the partners have already worked together successfully.

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