If you think that our multi-billion dollar electrical power grids are secure and capable of withstanding a coordinated attack, think again.
According to one group of engineers, the grid is so vulnerable that it wouldn’t even require a skilled hacker to compromise. The consequences, according to the engineers who note they are in no way security specialists, could be a total downing of the national power grid with nodes across the nation being taken over all at once.
You’d think that such a vulnerability would be a top priority for the Department of Homeland Security, considering they are spending millions of dollars and promoting their coming Grid Ex exercise in November. When outgoing DHS head Janet Napolitano suggested that a cyber attack on the nation’s power grid is imminent, she meant it. They know that these systems are vulnerable, and the steps needed to protect the grid from cyber attacks and other potential hazards like a Super EMP or a severe geo-magnetic event would cost in the multiple billions of dollars to fix. And when we say deadly, we mean it, because according to a report from the Center for Security Policy presented to Congress in 2010, if our power grid were to be taken offline for an extended period of time, 9 out of 10 Americans would be dead within a year. Having worked in government and military facilities as a contractor I am now sure an emp will not affect them as bad as a solar flare would. I always thought the gov was too inept to fully implement martial law but if the country had lost the grid for 6 weeks before the military moved in that would be a different story. An EMP’s three stage attack will utterly destroy any part of the grid that is within line of sight of the explosion. If it goes off over Washington, DC, which would make more sense, it could take out the grid for everyone living east of the Mississippi River. I call it a three stage attack, because one nuclear blast above the atmosphere actually produces three pulses of energy to attack the grid.
A key element of any EMP attack is that the explosion must happen above the atmosphere, so that all of the explosion’s power can remain as electromagnetic energy, instead of being converted to a shock wave.
About the only electronic devices which wouldn’t be destroyed would be simple devices (like electronics with very short conductor lengths), if they are turned off and unplugged when EMP strikes.
The effects of the EMP would decimate our society’s ability to function at all levels; industry, commerce, education and the government. While the government has been giving the effects of an EMP attack considerable study, they have not yet begun to implement the necessary changes which would allow us to live through the EMP with minimal impact upon the government, let alone society. You say, "An EMP’s three stage attack will utterly destroy any part of the grid that is within line of sight of the explosion." Please support that assertion. In my opinion, Dr Peter Vincent Pry is one of the best qualified experts on the subject and certainly one of the loudest voices calling for EMP preparedness at all levels.
Whether an EMP comes from a high altitude nuclear explosion or as a result from a massive corona mass ejection makes little difference: Depending on how powerful the event might be, the effects would be the same. In the early nuclear tests, scientists understood that "radio flash" (what the British first called EMP) would result from nuclear detonations regardless of altitude and it behaved as they expected at low altitudes. If you read the work of Dr's Pry and Graham, you'll undoubted understand, but you I urge you to read beyond the "official" unclassified that have been thoroughly sanitised and dumbed down for consumption by congress and the voters they have been highly adulterated by politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists from the power industry who are looking out for their own interests. With regard to whether or not the electronic device is connected to the grid or sitting there not plugged in, makes some difference but is not necessarily a determining factor to the survivability of the device. When the EMP (electro magnetic pulse) strikes, be it from a massive solar flare event, a nuclear explosion at altitude, an EMP bomb, or a focused EMP weapon, it does the same thing… emit a pulse of fairly broadband energy which radiates outward from the source.

Some of the energy will be instantly induced into the power grid since most of our power lines are above the ground like a giant antenna and will soak up and distribute the pulse.
By the way, a simple description of a Faraday cage is basically a box or container made of conductive metal or metal grids whereby the EMP current is induced in them rather than the circuits of the electronic devices being protected inside. In conclusion, just know that ALL electronics are vulnerable unless specifically hardened against EMP (the military presumable does this, etc.) or protected via a purposed or natural Faraday cage.
The power grid is susceptible to EMP because it is composed of very long wires (many miles long) which basically form huge wire loops.
I am off the grid solar and worry about my inverters, which are in my basement, and my batteries, which are under my porch. I agree that coming warfare will include the use of purposed EMP weapons of varying magnitude. North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states, says Dr. Since EMP is a line-of-sight weapon, detonating one of these nukes about 300 miles above Nebraska could end life as we know it in America in about one second. Such a weapon — equal to a massive solar flare such as the “solar maxima” predicted by NASA to occur in 2012 — poses “substantial risk to equipment and operation of the nation’s power grid and under extreme conditions could result in major long term electrical outages,” said Joseph McClelland of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Senate testimony last month. As we’ve previously reported, such a weapon, or group of weapons strategically detonated at lower altitudes, would completely wipe out the entire US power grid, vehicles, computers, cell phones, and anything else with an electric circuit. Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.
Part of that estimate is that our research shows that a local or regional EMP attack is more likely than a coast-to-coast attack. 4) There is also the possibility of local attacks using non-nuclear EMPs, which are a growing threat. Even if someone was able to hit us with a single multi-megaton EMP blast, power systems would slowly come back. In fact, when Adam Crain and Chris Sistrunk decided to test some new software they were developing they identified a vulnerability so serious that it could literally blind operational controllers to such an extent that they would be locked out of monitoring systems and unable to maintain grid integrity.
They are software engineers and they were able to compromise our entire national power grid and water utility systems from remote locations. As part of this, they gave Energy a D+ as well, citing problems with our aging electrical grid, as well as a lack new power plants and refineries coming on line.
If that explosion happens to be high enough over the central part of the country, it will wipe out the grid for all but the eastern and western seaboards.
Parts of the grid which may survive the first pulse will be weakened by it and could then easily be destroyed by the next pulse. If the explosion happens in the atmosphere, the force of the explosion will be converted, vastly reducing the EMP produced. Scientists have successfully launched balloons which reach 120,000 feet, well into the stratosphere, which puts them about the minimum necessary altitude for an EMP blast.
Additionally, the EMP threat is simply a different version of the neutron bomb (as it was called).
He has authored a couple of books on EMP and how politicians and utilities companies are fighting EMP preparedness out of greed and ignorance.

But the worst of this, which Bill apparently neglected to mention, is what a grid shutdown of any sort would do to the hundred-plus nuclear reactors located in the US (or the 450 in the world). The long conductor parallel to the earth's magnetic field acted as an antenna, conducting the E3 component of the EMP resulting from the detonation. I’ve read technical studies that dispute this somewhat, saying that the the surge will surround the outer molecular layer of the metal during an EMP event. EMP happens, no electricity, no filling of cooling pools for spent rods and the tanks soon boil over. Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA nuclear weapons analyst and president of EMPact America, a citizens lobbying group. In our site’s EMP simulator, we show how smaller bombs could be targeted at major population areas on the east coast.
Only the major powers have those, so that kind of attack would be most likely as part of a global thermonuclear war.
Instead of an even pattern that diminishes evenly away from the central point, the peak fields in an EMP have a horseshoe like shape.
A perfect way to kill a lot of people with no weapons or troops would be grid failure in the middle of winter.
The problem is the cities as they are very vulnerable without power, groceries, water, the list can go on and on. When we talk about the grid, it’s referring to both the means of producing, as well as distributing electricity across the country.
Please understand that because Survivopedia posts articles daily, constraints exist as to how much time and effort any given writer can afford to invest in a particular article so not all writers can afford to spend the time to answer questions and thoroughly document source info and research, but I will make time because you seem to be earnest in your desire to learn, I take survival very seriously and consider EMP to be a threat that is almost impossible to understate. Dr Pry created EMPact America which is an organization dedicated educating the public and politicians about EMP and effecting change to protect against it. Given that it takes anywhere from 7 to 20 years to decommission (shut down) these reactors, literally everyone of them would go into meltdown the minute they no longer have power (including generators if they'll still run a maximum of about 4 days on stored diesel). Mainstream science is welcome do study and do the math and come to it's own conclusions with whatever resources it is able to muster and has now progressed to the point that EMP resulting from nuclear detonation at an altitude greater than the middle stratosphere is amplified a thousand fold by the Compton Scattering effect as the earth's magnetic field lines are heaved out of place and snap back, re-radiating and scattering EM energy.
Knowing this, we can conclude that your electronic devices will be less likely damaged if you are much further away from the EMP source. Having said that, even if the electronic device is NOT plugged in, it will also be vulnerable to the effects of the EMP as the invisible pulse radiates outwards through the air, enveloping everything in its path (except for those items which are protected in a Faraday type cage or similar). Relatively small, primitive nuclear fission weapons are capable of destroying our large step up and step down transformers that power the electrical grid. They are categorized as high power microwave (HPM) weapons and ultra wide band (UWB) weapons.
I contributed to the current revision of Blackout USA and will start work on a more advanced EMP survival ebook or book next week after I get the project I'm currently working on to where it needs to be by the end of the week.

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