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Taking America off the Grid


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Taking America off the Grid


Trying to predict future events is an often unrewarding pursuit fraught with dangers, rarely

are predictions fully accurate, more often, they are spectacularly wide of the mark; for

this reason, speculation rarely benefits anyone.

However, with Dick Cheney’s chilling warning/threat of a ‘far deadlier nuclear 9/11' in

mind, we couldn’t resist indulging in a little speculation as to the possible target of this

future attack.

Of course, we aren’t the only ones who have considered the issue of likely targets for a

‘terrorist’ attack.

In 2007 , the U.S. Department of Homeland Security commissioned a report by the National

Research Council into the vulnerability of the U.S. Power grid to terrorist attack. However

the D.H.S. decided at that time that the report would be classified in its entirety. After a

formal request from the Research Council for an updated security classification review, the

report was cleared for public release in fall 2012.

The report makes it clear that the U.S. Power grid is highly vulnerable to attack. There are

30 substations in the U.S. that play a critical role in the nation’s grid operations; the

report said that if any nine of them were taken offline, the U.S. power grid could suffer

coast-to-coast blackouts lasting 18 months or more and costing the nation billions of

dollars to repair.

You can read the full report entitled ‘Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System’


With this disturbing scenario in mind, we asked the same brave folks at Sandia Labs who

chose to release the astounding about the nuclear weapons used on 9/11 if they had any

insight into the possibilities of such an attack. The result was the release to us of more

highly classified information every bit as astounding and chilling as the 9/11 nuclear data.

Q: Have case studies been carried out that examine the possibilities for an attack on the US

power grid?

A: Many studies have been done on EMP damage to the US power grid.

Only a very high altitude air burst above 1 megaton would work. Requires a ICBM to work.

Russia or China only and a pre first strike use only.

All other smaller burst would be tactical in effect only. Can be done by terrorists.

There are two types of attacks.

1. The first is for long term damage and the second is to produce temporary outages in

targeted cities only. They only requires a low yield weapon detonated below 30 thousand feet

in a stolen jet or a ground burst in a stolen van to take out a power plant, dam, or

transformer switching yard.

2. Air bursts only blows fuses and damages power and phone lines unless you are directly

below the blast. This damage can easily be repaired in a few days to weeks just like after a

hurricane or tornado hits. Its effect are short term and short ranged.

3. Long term damage is done to infrastructure and it is permanent. You have to replace

the transformers and power plant equipment. This takes time and it can be up to several

years just to replace a power plant ETC. These parts are custom built and they are not kept

in stock.



Q. Is there a type of nuclear weapon that is optimized to create the largest possible EMP?

Would this be the type of weapon best suited to destroying electrical and electronic

infrastructure such as the US power grid?

A. There are three types of EMP attacks possible. The one everyone knows about is the

high altitude EMP burst. It is horizontal in polarity and it is designed to knock out power

lines, Power transformers, phone lines, AM and short wave radios. It mainly works on long

line power cables that are above ground and running parallel to the earths surface. It is

detonated at high altitude usually above 45 thousand feet and it is a line of sight weapon

with a maximum range of 300 to 600 miles depending on burst height. The major damage is

limited to an area just below the fireballs burst location.

Its EMP effect very rapidly decreases in strength with range. It will also knock out the

ionosphere for up to several hours making long range AM band and HF communications difficult

or impossible. This is intended for knocking out command and controls structures.

Frequencies above 30 to 60 MHz are poorly affected. 75% of the pulse is well below 30 MHz in

frequency with the majority of the pules being between 15 and 300 KHZ. in range.

In any EMP blast. Any wire that is less than 10 feet long will absorb very little EMP

energy. So it will not disable you car unless you are directly below or near the blast. Cell

phones, TV, and FM radios are pretty much immune from this kind of attack due to the very

short wave lengths involved.

B. The surface burst EMP effect is vertical in polarity and it is very short ranged,

with the majority of the energy being shot strait up in to the atmosphere. It can act as a

directed energy weapon when the burst is confined into a channelled metal wave guide such as

on 911. When confined in to such a structure it will use any conductive metal as an energy

conduit to transfer the electromagnetic energy into. In the surface burst mode the

electromagnetic pulse dose not radiate as in the high altitude burst mode. Most of the

energy is trapped in the induction and near field zones of the blast. Its effect is usually

less than 3 miles and the energy is usually centered well bellow 3 MHZ in frequency. Half of

the energy produced will be in a magnetic form and not in an electromagnetic form IE as in a

radio wave.

This magnetic pulse is very good for enhancing the thermal effects of the weapon by very

rapidly heating up and melting very thick metal objects such as car engine blocks and steel

beams. The effect is very similar as to how an induction cooker works.

C. The under ground burst is the 3rd mode of EMP weapons. In this mode almost all of the

energy produced is absorbed by the earth. Its main function is in going after under ground

bunkers, structures and rail or oil pipe lines. It is usually referred to as a bunker

buster. Its main effect is in producing a very large magnetic pulse into the ground for

destroying or damaging equipment by means of thermal magnetic induction. It produces a

magneto-hydrodynamic process as its mode of destruction. It is good for taking out Dams,

power plants and well shielded nuclear reactors.

D. In order to effectively use it on the US power grid what is you intention. If you

only want to temporally knock out the power and disrupt communications for only a few days

to a week or two then an high altitude air burst would be used. This would be a pre courser

by a first strike nation only.
More than one 300 kiloton or larger in sized weapon would be needed unless you only

intention was to use it on the east or west coast only.

The majority of the damage would be limited to a few hundred miles around the affected

area such as WDC, NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, LA or San Francisco. It

would half to be detonated above 45 thousand feet. This would imply using an ICBM.

The main damage would be in blowing out circuit breakers and producing very large power

transits overloading the capacity of the power grid to manage it, effectively tripping

safety circuits. This is called “load sloshing” and it is what took out power to the north

east power grid years ago.

E. A low altitude (under 30 thousand feet) nuclear burst under 20 or 30 kiloton in size

will be limited to line of sight range. This is usually about 30 to 60 miles max for a low

level burst. Damage will be limited to blowing out circuit breakers, transformers, motors

and phone lines with the majority of the effect being with in one to six mile from the

center of the burst.

F. In a ground burst as used by a terrorist organization a very small nuke enhanced for

EMP use will only be effective for less than a mile or two as seen on 911. The range is

extremely limited and it is effective only against very large fixed infrastructures such as

power plants and transformer switching yards.

By going after un-protected power plants and associated switching yard equipment such as

very large transformers the damage can be quite severe.

It can take years to replace equipment like this. Most of it is now only made in Asia

and you have to wait years to get replacement generators and transformers made. GE and

Westinghouse off-shored this type of manufacturing to Asia years ago. It is the soft

underbelly to the US power grid.
No spares. The former head of Home Land Security Janet Napolitano warned about this

before leaving office. For a terrorist group this is the easiest option outside of dropping

power lines. Just park a white moving van with a EMP weapon loaded inside of it next to a

major transformer sub station. Light the fuse and run.

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