Author Topic: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared  (Read 512 times)

Offline Mr. Bill

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Saw this posted on the TSP MeWe forum:

Report: Electromagnetic Pulse Would Not Have Widespread Impact on Electric Grid

Quote
The U.S. electric transmission system would largely survive a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse event caused by a nuclear warhead atmospheric explosion, an intensive investigation by the Electric Power Research Institute has found. ...

Researchers conducted laboratory testing and analysis to determine the effect on the transmission grid from an EMP triggered by the unlikely event of a nuclear warhead detonated approximately 30 kilometers—about 18 miles—above Earth’s surface. ...

There are concerns that an EMP triggered at the right altitude could bring down the U.S. transmission grid as well as other critical infrastructures like telecommunications, emergency services and hospitals.

But EPRI’s study found that, while direct exposure to the initial pulse could damage or disrupt some transmission electronics, existing resiliency built into the grid would likely prevent catastrophic failure. Recovery from an EMP would be similar to that from other large-scale power outages, EPRI said. ...

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 07:01:14 PM »
Well that's good news.

Offline Stwood

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 10:38:25 PM »
Well that's good news.

Yes.

From 18 miles up. What if it went off closer?

Offline Gamer

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2019, 04:36:37 PM »
Food for thought-
Picture of the 1962 'Starfish Prime' nuclear test seen through cloud from Hawaii 900 miles away at 250 miles altitude-




WIKI- "The Starfish Prime electromagnetic pulse caused electrical damage in Hawaii, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting off numerous burglar alarms and damaging a telephone company microwave link."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime

Offline Stwood

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2019, 08:46:00 PM »
Way back in 62'. We certainly have more destructive weapons these days.

Offline Gamer

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2019, 10:37:13 AM »
Way back in 62'. We certainly have more destructive weapons these days.

Yes, and the '62 bang was just a regular nuke blast, but the EMP was accidentally "stronger than expected", so a bomb specifically designed from the outset to have a super-duper powerful EM pulse would blow out a lot more toasters than that..:)


Offline ChEng

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2019, 07:10:50 PM »
Yes, but we also have well over a half a century of technology advancement. Our electric grid (and almost all other infrastructure) has improved mightily in the past 60 years.
Still... focus on that keyword in the title: "maybe." It's always better to prepare for the worst and pray for the best.

Offline DDJ

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2019, 11:04:05 AM »
It could be argued that we have less tolerant devices today.  Metal housing that would act as a shield are replaced with plastic.  smaller and smaller components in circuit cards are more and more static sensitive.  Static is not EMP but traces inside and between components that are less tolerant of a static shock are also going to be less tolerant of the transient charges of the EMP.  Cost, weight, and size reduction are often had at the expense of fault tolerance.

I can say that I no longer pick up WKSU on my hair dryer as I did in collage (in the 90s) and can say that my day job spends a lot of time worried about electrical emissions.  There may be better circuits designed, but often that is because filters and other items are added which is more to 'burn out".

I am not going to go into how much more dependent we are on the technologies or the interconnectivity of our world compared to the 60s. 

The related question is: If the grid is more EMP tolerant does that mean it is not going to fail as it carries the pulse through to our homes and businesses or will it not only tolerate the pulse but contain it.

Offline ChEng

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2019, 06:20:29 AM »
The related question is: If the grid is more EMP tolerant does that mean it is not going to fail as it carries the pulse through to our homes and businesses or will it not only tolerate the pulse but contain it.
Yes, that is the question. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the answer to that question can only be reached with a truly catastrophic, although possibly local, event (at least other than theoretically.)
Thus, as I have heard somewhere around here: we prepare to be better off if things get bad, or even if they don't.  :D

Offline The Professor

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Re: EMP and the electric grid: maybe not as catastrophic as we feared
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2019, 06:49:04 PM »
I would be remiss if I didn't ask the simple question:

Did any of you actually READ the study?  No, not just the article about the study, but the actual study, itself?

I did and I was left with one impression:

The "results" from the study were quite inconclusive and did not exactly leave me with a sense of confidence.  The language used throughout the study was filled with "if's" and "presumed" and "might."

The basis of the study is also quite questionable.  It's based upon a detonation of a "standard" military warhead 18 miles above ground.  Major players have been working "EMP-Heavy" devices which fall well outside the parameters set forth.  Additionally, nothing is mentioned about even multiple "standard" warheads.

My suggestion would be to  not get all warm and fuzzy, just yet.

The Professor