Skip to comments.As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow
Posted on 08/21/2013 5:41:40 AM PDT by Old Sarge
WASHINGTON The electric grid, as government and private experts describe it, is the glass jaw of American industry. If an adversary lands a knockout blow, they fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11.
~ SNIP ~
One goal of the drill, called "GridEx II", is to explore how governments would react as the loss of the grid crippled the supply chain for everyday necessities.
~ SNIP ~
Most of the participants will join the exercise from their workplaces, with NERC, in Washington, announcing successive failures. One example, organizers say, is a substation break-in that officials initially think is an attempt to steal copper. But instead, the intruder uses a USB drive to upload a virus into a computer network.
The drill is part of a give-and-take in the past few years between the government and utilities that has exposed the difficulties of securing the electric system.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I’m pinging a combined Prepper/Threat Matrix list.
According to my read of the article, this is a simulation, like a military CPX, and these 150 companies will not be physically shutting off the grid.
But who knows what they’ll feel empowered to do...
After 4 days without power - most large American cities would be in the MadMax Zone...
So good of the Times to bring this to everyone’s attention.
Osama Obama picked the perfect time to declare his “war on coal”,the fuel responsible for almost half the electricity generated in this country.
The first priority would be to ensure that the NSA could spy on the survivors.
the NYT almost gets it right but doesn’t. See the excerpt below:
“protect equipment against an electromagnetic pulse, which could come from solar activity or be caused by small nuclear weapons exploded at low altitude, frying crucial components.
An attack using an electromagnetic pulse is laid out in extensive detail in the novel One Second After, published in 2009 and endorsed by Newt Gingrich. In another novel, Gridlock, published this summer and co-written by Byron L. Dorgan, the former senator from North Dakota, a rogue Russian agent working for Venezuela and Iran helps hackers threaten the grid. In the preface, Mr. Dorgan says such an attack could cause 10,000 times as much devastation as the terrorists strikes on Sept. 11, 2001.”
The article speaks of a nuclear detonation at *low* altitudes generating EMP that damages the grid. Wrong mostly, but right (see SREMP below). HIGH altitude 40+ KM is the best method. The bad guys have to get it up there, but the most modeled EMP attack is high altitude.
Refer to this article http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/emp.htm and how the most damaging pulse - the HEMP - is generated via the Compton effect induced by a high-altitude burst. A low altitude burst does indeed produce a powerful EMP, called Source Region Electro-magnetic Pulse [SREMP], which is powerful locally, but the extent and permanence of the damage pales in comparison to a high altitude 40 - 40 KM) HEMP.
There are two pulses generated (some prefer to describe 3 pulses, E1-3, but E2 is akin to lightning in its effects and is not anticipated to act as a killer pulse) by nuclear EMP - the HEMP is VERY short duration, with nanosecond rises in voltage/induced current, and lasts about a millisecond. THIS (E1) is what fries the digital circuits of the modern era. The second pulse (E3) is longer duration and induces powerful voltages/currents in the long ‘antennae’ of the power grid, rail lines, etc. Together the two are electronically and even physically disabling to electronic and electrical infrastructure.
Furthermore, solar wind EMPs should only generate the ‘long wave’ EMP, (E3 and perhaps some E2) and pose little threat to any unplugged and moderately shielded electrical/electronic gizmos. One can easily protect your stuff from a solar storm EMP, and we should have days if not plenty of hours to prepare.
One Second After is of course more of a SOCIAL essay/novel - ‘lord of the Flies’ in the 21st century on a large scale. Gridlock is more about thwarting a different attack vector. The outcome is the same — a failure of civility within 9 days.
Too few people know the extent of the problem.
“Too few people know the extent of the problem.”
Lisa Murkowski, the left leaning Republican Senator from Alaska understands it fully. She killed the effort in Congress to harden the power grid against EMP attack.
The higher you go, the less damage is done. It would take large numbers of these EMP’s to knock out the grid. The Soviet Union tested it on their own people.
Terrorists hitting power substations or embedded viruses is more likely. California is particularly vulnerable.
You are right. The higher the nuclear blast happens, the wider is the area affected and it doesn’t take a massive nuclear blast for it to happen.
As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow
From the article:
utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, F.B.I. antiterrorism experts and officials from government agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico are preparing for an emergency drill in November that will..."
Thanks, Old Sarge.
We have a whole house generator installed with enough propane for about a month.....tested it out during Hurricane Sandy. Also have a backup generator which runs on gas.
Congressional staffers will get a waiver from it.