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EMP Attack: Shielding America’s Power Grid for $1 Billion

Written by Gary North on November 23, 2011

The threat of an EMP attack is great: enormous destruction, but very low probability. However, as the price of nuclear weapons falls, the threat increases.

Ah EMP attack would cripple electrical power. A complete attack: across the nation, missiles 45 miles above the earth, could wipe out at least a third of America’s population. It would cause total economic collapse.

This threat is being used to promote a pre-emptive military strike on Iran, which has no nuclear weapons.

This video report says that the power grid could be “hardened” — shielded — from EMP attack for $1 billion. Congress does nothing.

If it’s not worth shielding the grid for $1 billion, then it’s not worth war with Iran. It’s not worth having America conduct its own “Pearl Harbor” sneak attack.

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12 thoughts on “EMP Attack: Shielding America’s Power Grid for $1 Billion

  1. Very timely article. It raises another classic irony. If Congress is really afraid of Iran, to the point of beating war drums, WHY is there no movement on an issue such as EMP hardening, with consequences as grim as are presented here?

  2. When will it stop? Homeland Security, TSA, two or three or four wars (how many is it today) being fought simultaneously. Pat downs and pornoscans, take off your shoes, toss the water bottle and now this.

    Unless the diaperheads get bored there will continue to be another THREAT OF THE MONTH. How about attacking the problem instead of reacting to it.

    My solution, put the world on notice, we are watching, if an attack comes we will know where it originated and we will bomb the snot out of you. Put responsibility where it belongs, with the countries that harbor terrorists. Terrorists per se have no country and we do not wish to declare war on any particular country however if you do not wish to see your country reduced to rubble as we attack the terrorists, you best handle the problem before we do.

    Then I can go back to wearing my boots at the airport

  3. It's not worth it to the government because they want our USA to be attacked. Its the communist muslim in the White House who wants us destroyed. That's why he's cut military spending. It's okay to spend our tax dollars on muslim mosques, and aid to Hebolah and Hamas that funds their terrorism, but just a pidly 1 billion to protect citizens is refused. The send billions and billions to our enemies, but can't find it in their common sense and love of OUR country to protect us! The DEMONrats needed to be disbanded!!!! They have gone so far from the American way, from our Constitution, and have BECOME our enemies that they are traitors. They refuse to cut funding our enemies but refuse to defend and protect our citizens. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out. Facts are Facts, and these traitors need to be charged and sentenced for treason. Disband the communist muslim party they are a cancer to our country.

  4. I strongly urge everyone to read "One Second After" by William F. Forstchen … one of the most frightening and informative books I've read recently. We all need to pressure Congress to do something to protect our power grid before we all wind up back in the 19th century, and we don't know how to survive like people did in that period.

  5. I find it hard to believe that EMP is a serious threat ever since I was on a cell phone less than 15 feet from a lightening strike on a utility transformer the cell phone the car radio and the vehicle computer never missed a beat, It did however scare thew Sh*t out of me

  6. Steven Higgins says:

    EMP is real, and if developed in to a portable weapon look out will damage more than power grid, it will kill everything with computer and that are running Cars, Mircro wave ovens, Cell phones and much more are dead and useless. And there as I understand it only one place in the US that is protected (conputer)

  7. I bet the IRS computers are hardened. There are theoritical ways to EMP without a nuke, but so far are very limited in area of pulse. As a matter of course, we need to harden the power grid and make sure the banks are hardened. In my own business , I keep a copy of the data in a shielded safe.

  8. Scott Todd says:

    We'd also have to harden the vehicles we drive or the only ones that would still be able to get around will be late 70s and earlier vintage.

  9. Doug Nicholson says:

    Just finished reading "One Second After", about this very subject. It is a chilling, fictional story about several nuclear weapons being set off in the atmosphere and the resulting EMP wiping out every non-hardened electronic circuit in the United States. The country is instantly transported back to the late 1800's with very few mechanical (only the ones with NO electronics) devices still operating. A great read which, not incidentally, will make you realize that a billion dollars to harden critical infrastructure is a huge bargain.

  10. I have known about this for about ten years I tried to get other people to listen to me but they just laughed in my face. When this happens they don`t need to come knocking on my door.

  11. jeromefromlayton says:

    OK, time to get "real". In the world of EMP, size matters in several ways. First, the EMP varies with the size of the device. A Hiroshima sized event would be no problem beyond 5-10 miles. The device that started the conversation was 1 Mega Ton up in the ionosphere a few hundred miles from Hawaii. It caused early model garage doors to activate and tripped some circuits with no lasting damage. The DNA pamphlet I read speculated about 20MT in the ionosphere with an effective radius of about 700 miles. So, who is going to build a 20MT device and then lift it about 250 miles above the middle of the country? Then, they would need three or four of them to do the job. Small club with limited membership here: USA, USSR, England, France, and China (maybe).

    There was a real event around 1859 that is much more likely that came from the Sun. Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) happen all the time. Luckily, 99+% of them miss the earth and they also vary in size. The 1859 event was huge and it hit the earth just right. Anything that was long and made of conductive material responded with a current surge. At that time, it was mostly telegraph lines and some of the poles caught fire. EMP from a CME is different in that it doesn't have super high frequency components like a nuclear EMP. So, while it can trash the power company (They better find and apply that $1B pronto.), it is not likely to get inside an i-phone or computer. Yes, this is a very good reason to have an UPS installed.

  12. jeromefromlayton says:

    An economic note. Most of the risk is being carried by the power companies. I am dubious about that "$1 Billion" price tag. Last time I heard, the US population is about 330 Million including the undocumented people. Let's say the real price is about $10 Billion; then the per capita one time charge would be $30. Where do I send the $120 check?

    By the way, remember "long conductors"? What are they doing about pipe lines that carry everything from water and natural gas to exotic chemicals? I'm aware of some that carry LNG across the Mediterranean Sea.