America prepares for ‘widespread power outages’ in the event of disaster

Solar flares (NASA Goddard Flight Center)

Black Sky Events can ‘bring society to its knees”

2012: largest blackout in history effected 9% of the world population

 

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The Trump administration has been preparing for the possibility of “widespread power outages” across the United States as a result of concerns regarding “electromagnetic pulse attacks” or EMPs. As late as August 23, 2017, FEMA and the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored unique and strategic exercises to prepare for potential catastrophes such as enormous earthquakes, cyber terrorism or high altitude EMPs.

The code name for the exercises was “EarthEX2017,” which included wargame responses to such disasters or attacks. The exercise simulated “subcontinent-scale, long duration power outage, with cascading failures of all other infrastructures,” according to the Electric Infrastructure Security Council (EISC). EARTH EX is “an evolving, distributed, collaborative partner-developed” series of exercises.

According to an EISC report titled USSR Nuclear EMP Upper Atmosphere Kazakhstan Test 184, research confirms an EMP event over the U.S. today “would likely damage about 365 large transformers in the U.S. power grid, leaving about 40 percent of the U.S. population without electrical power for 4 to 10 years.”

A strong focus zeroed-in on catastrophic events, deemed “Black Sky Hazards,” that can severely disrupt the normal function of critical American “infrastructures in multiple regions for long durations.” The definition of “Black sky events” is “Catastrophic occurrences caused by man or nature that bring society to its knees.”

Blackout (J. Dennis)

Some of the planning involved in protecting America involves implementing “resilience and fallback” capabilities. On example would be to include UHF radio modules in future electric cars. This would create “peer-to-peer” communication devices and allow flexible routing signals to cars across cities and highways. Called a “mesh network,” this would vastly expand the capability of emergency communication networks. It could also make these future networks “nearly invulnerable to almost any conceivable hazard.”

In 1989, astronomers watched as an enormous explosion occurred on the sun. Moments later, magnetic energy from that explosion turned into a massive cloud of gas. The energy from the cloud rushed out towards the earth, spelling lights out for all of Quebec as seven million people were left without power for over 9 hours. NASA and others confirmed the disaster didn’t just affect Canada. Across America, there were more than 200 power grid disruptions at the same moment that the Quebec blackout occurred. Some space satellites plummeted out of control for hours. All this damage was due to EMP.

Horrifically, this event was just a fragment compared to the intensity of the 1859 Carrington Super Flare which took out telecommunication systems around the globe. Other such solar events occurred in 1882, 1921, 1938, 2000 and 2003.

In the “Great Northeast Blackout of 2003,” 50 million people experienced a blackout. It contributed to at least 11 deaths, and cost an estimated $6 billion. Massive blackouts are not good. The New York City Blackout of 1977 resulted in the arrest of 4,500 looters and injury of 550 police officers. It was caused by a lightning strike on a substation that tripped two circuit breakers. India’s nationwide blackout of 2012, the largest blackout in history, effected 670 million people or 9% of the world population. It was caused by overload of a single high-voltage powerline.

Not just naturally-occurring

But EMP events are not just naturally-occurring, they can come from a nuclear explosion or an EMP weapon. In the Star Fish Prime tests in 1962, the US launched a 1.4 megaton nuclear missile about 900 miles southwest of Hawaii. Discovery Magazine described it:

“When the bomb detonated, those electrons underwent incredible acceleration. When that happens they create a brief but extremely powerful magnetic field. This is called an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. The strength of the pulse was so huge that it affected the flow of electricity on the Earth hundreds of kilometers away! In Hawaii it blew out hundreds of streetlights, and caused widespread telephone outages. Other effects included electrical surges on airplanes and radio blackouts.”

 

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