Skip to comments.We’re Still Worrying About EMPs
Posted on 02/29/2012 7:54:36 PM PST by U-238
EMPs!!! You know, the big electronics-frying pulses that accompany nuclear blasts. Were back to worrying about them again. In particular how does the military protect its electrical infrastructure from an EMP attack.
Yeah, we have issues there [with the EMP threat] and we have to look at those and we seriously have to understand that in the Army in particular, because we have an awful lot of bases that we look at, said Marilyn Freeman assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology during a House Armed Services emerging threats subcomittee hearing today. I work very closely and the folks in my office and accross the laboratory system of the Army work very close with the installations folks as we assess what our vulnerabilities are to power and energy issues and one of the things were trying to do is actually set up the ability for our various bases to be more energy self sufficient, more energy secure and to have the ability, not only to be more efficient and effective, but also to be safe and not vulnerable to attacks from EMPs that would shut down a bases power systems.
If you think its easy to harden a base connected to the civilian power grid from an EMP blast, think again, one of Freemans fellow Pentagon science officials said in when a lawmaker asked how soon the nation can protect its bases and power infrastructure from EMP attack.
(Excerpt) Read more at defensetech.org ...
If the bomb burst close to the ground and nobody expected that to happen, then that would be understandable. They got a burst of light at a low angle when all precautions were against a burst of light overhead. That must have been a “DAYUMN!” moment.
If you look at a nuclear explosion you will burn the retina’s in your eyes.
Hey, thanks for the heads up. Don’t want to burn your eyes out while looking at the nuke explode down the road. :(
Why of course... it’s just odd how that happened at that test. The bomb was dropped, and didn’t burst high up like it was expected to. So what did people do... start and keep on a-staring as the “dud” plunged? Stupid.
You might melt your cooking pot if you didn’t allow for the heat released from the reaction.
Not too many people know that an explosion will cause permanent damage to your eyes.
Other than 90% or more of the country’s population starving to death after a successful EMP attack, I have NO CLUE why people are panicking about it.
I’m much more mature than that, and don’t have a problem with a slight disruption to my daily lifestyle.
BTW: Welding glasses will make good eye protection against a nuclear explosion.
I am more concerned we will be blasted back to the stone age(technologically wise) with an EMP attack
I thought by now it was common knowledge that it briefly reproduces temperatures as hot as the sun, and therefore shines as brightly. At the test site the people were not warned not to look at the bomb???
Remember,the rocket strayed off course and they were not expecting that
Anyhow unless you were really desperate you would have no need to cook up your own lead sulfide. You’d have some on hand already. Besides you might come up with the wrong valence compound if you didn’t weigh your ingredients exactly enough, and it might fail to work as well as galena, if at all.
There were some interesting “liquid diode” designs used in the early detector days of radio before the vacuum tube came along. They involved things like brass wire dipped in nitric acid and proved reliable enough that they supplanted cat whiskers.
“I am more concerned we will be blasted back to the stone age(technologically wise) with an EMP attack”
I guess that’s another effect, but like some others here, I will make fun of it, to show that I’m superior to you...
...Hmmm - it did look like people did quite well on the Flintstones - so what’s the worry?
Whatever — like a seeming dud firework, you don’t want to treat it as a dud until doused. It burst, but low. Still you don’t look at it...?
I cannot explain the reasons why they did that.
blinded the cat
Besides, I've made a crystal radio with the old blue finished single razor blades.
I'll bet I can figure out a junction diode of some kind.
How does the razor blade diode work. Rest a wire across its sharp edge?
What would be really surprising is if you could make a transistor.
Ain't gonna happen. For one thing, we've got loads of scrap steel laying around, so that and a hot fire puts you to late iron age.
And there are enough geeks around that we'll be back to the late 1800s, early 1920s in a few days.
How are you going to accomplish this when our lives directly or indirectly done with a computer?
Equipment that is purely vacuum tube based and shielded in some sort of chassis would be unlikely to fail. Even its capacitors would be kept mostly out of harm’s way. If the capacitors are of some materials like mica, they will puncture but not short out when overvoltaged.
Industries today are connected by computer. Just how is this giant leap going to be done?
Someone needs to port Linux to the ENIAC....
Vacuum tubes are affected by EMP
I take that back. Vacuum tubes might work.Vacuum tubes are far more resistant to EMP
Mine isn't. EMP the world, and I'll wake up in the morning when the sun comes up.
And I'll cope. I've lived for over 2 years in a place with no 'lectrikity, no running water, no flush toilets. I made it.
Virtually EMP proof. If the tube is caught at operating temperature there might be a chance of creating something like a cathode to heater leak. At room temperature, you’d have to crack the envelope to hurt the tube.
You will not be able to use your computer in a EMP attack.The vast majority depends at a mercy of a computer.
Industries don't make things. People do. Individuals made this tech world. We can make it again. And we've got the head start of knowing things.
That is why I corrected myself in the earlier thread after thinking about it.
Unfortunatly many people in urban areas do not have wind generators.
Johnston Island, Northern Hemisphere. In the HF range, total blackout occurred on JI only for a short time; moderate interference lasted for several hours. Absorption increased at sunrise. The debris patch in the northern conjugate area should have affected communications in the French Frigate Shoal, Midway, and Wake areas; also on board shipthe DAMP ship, for instance. The information reposes in the classified literature. The signal strength of Radio Australia in Melbourne on 11.7 MHz was measured at Lexington, Massachusetts.z The short path crosses within 2300 km of JI, but passes through the southern conjugate area. First, there was a sharp drop in signal strength by 10 db, lasting two minutes; then came a 20-db drop (total) for five additional minutes. Recovery after plus seven minutes was almost complete.
Australia, New Zealand, Cook Island Areas. Apparently, the strongest communication degradation occurred in this area caused by the motion of a large debris fraction into the conjugate area21and its subsequent expansion and drift. The following information has been extracted from the literature.la Wellington, New Zealand, monitored countdown from JI at 12.020 MHz. After explosion time, the JI station was blacked out for the rest of the night.
In the Australia and New Zealand area (Sidney, Aukland, Melbourne), many MF and HF transmissions were strongly attenuated; signal strengths were down an average of 30 db during the first hour, but improved after H + 60 minutes. There was also strong attenuation of radio signals from Honolulu. For instance, Voice of America directed from Honolulu to New Zealand and Australia on 9.65 MHz was down 30 db at H + 5 minutes, and down 20 db at H + 60 minutes. Enhanced D-region ionization continued to be apparent for the remainder of the night, as no distant MF station or HF station below 20 MHz returned to its normal nighttime
At Rarotonga, similar effects were observed at MF and in the lower HF range. During the following nights, New Zealand and Australian MF stations faded out completely, but not the US Stations. BBC transmissions to Wellington, New Zealand, were again enhanced in the 15-to 21-MHz range.
Worldwide Effects. Observations of mostly transient effects of VLF transmissions were reported from the State of Washington; Boulder, Colorado; Panama; Chile; Wellington, New Zealand; and many other places. It does not appear that the transient effects posed a serious communication problem, although it would seem worth while to make a more comprehensive study of the exact physical sources for these perturbations. Speculations have been advanced that some of these effects were produced by neutron-decay protons and electrons .22 An increase in the absorption of 30-MHz cosmic radio noise was observed at four stations in
Alaska within two seconds after the explosion, by Basler, Dyce, and Leinbach.2 The authors believe that the ionization in the lower ionosphere originated at the endpoints of the radiation belt tubes formed at L = 1.5 to L = 2.0.
The energy of the TEMP is one millionth of the bomb’s energy release spread out over millions of square miles. Certainly, the lack of damage to both the power and the communications systems in Hawaii from the 1.4-Mt Starfish blast counters the view that the effects of EMP are devastating to such systems.
The telecommunications industry concluded, “Based upon results of testing done to date, the Task Force believes that significantly large portions of the Public Telecommunications Networks (PTNs) would survive a HEMP [high-altitude EMP] attack... “ (, p. ES-1). One may expect the telecommunications system to be far more vulnerable than its rugged counterpart, the electric power system. The telecommunications system typically operates at ~ 10s of volts with a breakdown voltage ~ 100s of volts. In comparison, the electric power system looks extremely hardy, operating at ~ 100s of kilovolts, with a breakdown voltage ~ millions of volts.
If significantly large portions of the telecommunications networks would survive an EMP attack, then one may expect an even more robust response from the electric power system. Even the electronic power system control equipment may be better protected than its telecommunications counterpart. Due to its compact nature, power system control equipment has little direct coupling with EMP. Indirect coupling of the TEMP with this equipment through high voltage power lines involves large attenuation of the pulse in both entering and going through transformers as established in both the Sandia and Swedish studies.
Based upon the analyses presented in this paper and in Refs. [7-81, it appears highly improbable if not impossible that the EMP from a single nuclear burst could blackout this nation’s power grid. It would be practically impossible for the EMP to cause widespread damage to the U.S. transmission line system. With the exception of isolated cases, it appears highly unlikely that EMP could produce extensive damage to the U.S. distribution grid. A single nuclear device exploded at high altitude will not render vital electrical services inoperable across the entire United States as has been suggested in many media references.
Concurrent multiple bomb bursts will not have an additive TEMP effect, and will even interfere to produce less TEMP than a single burst.
And then here are a bunch of ARRL whitepapers that detail just how little actual damage resulted from a HEMP-type event:
And then there’s this:
Siemens had an EMP/EMC testing lab in Berlin. They don’t have the highest power MARX generator series in the world, but they do have one of the fastest. They test their products here at levels FAR above whatever HEMP events can produce.
Think about it this way, 7KV will easily jump a one inch gap. If the field levels at ground level were anything near 30KV/m or even 10KV/m, people would have seen sparks wherever there was a inch or less gaps between long pieces of metal.
If there had even been just a few KV/m of field strength at ground level, would have been all that is needed to shock people painfully, if not hurt them, if they were “near” long conductors. Nobody mentioned getting shocked. People were on the phone at the time, nobody got shocked (which DOES happen during lightning). Notice the sparks during a test. Nobody ever talked about any sparks at all, and NONE like these during Starfish or other tests.
Yes, satellites have succumbed to CME events, but those exist in a FAR different environment than we here on the surface do. Our atmosphere and magnetosphere protect us quite solidly, and attenuate the effects of such events whether natural or artificial. And yes, some really big CMEs have coupled to sections of the power grid, and have caused some disruption, but then, a CME is orders of magnitude larger than anything we can do, and is powered by a nuclear fusion reaction at a scale humans won’t be capable of for likely millenia.
Apparently the piranha had its way