Archive for electromagnetic pulse

EXPERT: EMP attack could bring US to a screeching halt

Posted in EMB with tags , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by saynsumthn

In testimony delivered on September 12, Brandon Wales, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center, admitted that DHS remains unprepared for the possibility of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event or attack.

Wales testified that the nation’s power grid is more vulnerable now than it was a few years ago. Nevertheless, he could not provide Congress with an estimate for how much it would cost to combat such vulnerabilities.

An EMP attack could bring this country to a screeching halt by permanently disabling electronic devices. ATMs would stop dispensing money. Water and sewage systems would fail. Even planes and automobiles would stop working. Imagine living in the Dark Ages: This is what it would be like to live through an EMP attack.

More than seven years ago, DHS released its National Planning Scenarios. This document outlined plans to prepare for and respond to 15 different man-made and natural disasters. The list included the detonation of an improvised nuclear device and the use of a plague as a weapon. However, one potential threat was noticeably missing; an EMP event or attack.

READ MORE HERE

Witnesses

Panel I

Hon. Trent Franks
A Representative in Congress from the 2nd District of Arizona

Panel II

Mr. Joseph McClelland
Director
Office of Electric Reliability
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
[full text of testimony]

Mr. Brandon Wales
Director
Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
[full text of testimony]

Mr. Michael A. Aimone
Director
Business Enterprise Integration
Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations
Office of Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
Department of Defense
[full text of testimony]

Panel III

Mr. Chris Beck
President
Electric Infrastructure Security Council
[full text of testimony]
[truth in testimony]

‪AMS: Nuclear Public Health Emergencies‬‏

Posted in Disasters, Nuke Plant, Radiation Poisoning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by saynsumthn

Talk given by a member of the CDC at the recent American Meteorological Society’s annual conference.

Broadcast Meteorologists and Pre-event Messaging for a Nuclear Public Health Emergency

Charles W. Miller, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; and M. C. McCurley

Research sponsored by the Radiation Studies Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that the American public might very well look to their local broadcast meteorologist for help and direction in the event of a terrorist attack involving radiation, such as a an explosive radiological dispersal device, i.e. a “dirty bomb,” or an improvised nuclear device, much as they currently do for natural disasters (such as tornados and hurricanes). The public indicated they are familiar with their local broadcast meteorologist and they trust the information they receive from this source. In response to this research finding, CDC has partnered with the AMS Committee on the Station Scientist to provide public health messages and training materials that will allow broadcast meteorologists to provide life-saving information to the public during a public health emergency involving the release of radioactive materials (see http://www.ametsoc.org/stationscientist/radiological_dispersion.html). These materials can prepare broadcast meteorologists with answers to many of questions they and their audience will have in the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency.

Effective communications with the public will be especially critical in the event of an attack involving an improvised nuclear device. In the immediate vicinity of the attack, accurate information must be available as quick as possible to help save lives in the aftermath of the massive explosion, fires, and dangerous fallout. As the fallout from the detonation moves downwind, levels will quickly become too low to be immediately life-threatening. However, measureable levels of radiation from the blast will be found many kilometers downwind, and people will be very concerned about the potential long-term adverse impact on their health.

A group of agencies from within the Federal government is working together to develop a coordinated, multi-agency set of messages for the public that can be used in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear detonation. These messages are being designed to be applicable at a time when hard data are often lacking. They are based on the best scientific information available, including the latest atmospheric dispersion modeling, which can be used to predict the range and magnitude of the effects of such a detonation. Any information that is available immediately following a detonation will be highly uncertain, and, as a result, public messages will likely have to be modified as new information becomes available. This uncertainly will increase the challenge of communicating effectively with the public throughout the event.

In addition to these pre-event messages, the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) is developing templates for briefing products that can be provided to State, local, and tribal decision makers to assist them in making appropriate decisions for protecting the health and welfare of impacted people. These proposed briefing products will include maps forecasting the location of the various levels of destruction and the movement of the fallout cloud. These briefing products could potentially be made available to broadcast meteorologists for use on the air during an emergency.

Broadcast meteorologists have two important activities they should become involved in concerning both the pre-event messages and the IMAAC briefing products that are being developed. First, they must become familiar with these products so they can effectively use them during a nuclear or radiological emergency. Second, they should review all of these products for clarity and usability, and provide appropriate feedback to the product developers so all of the products will be as useful as possible. These activities will significantly strengthen our nation’s ability to provide life-saving information to the public during a public health emergency involving the release of radioactive materials.

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‪AMS: Nuclear Public Health Emergencies‬‏, posted with vodpod

Irwin Redlener from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness: How to survive a nuclear attack (TED Conference)

This 2008 report from the GAO is interesting to read: First Responders’ Ability to Detect and Model Hazardous Releases in Urban Areas Is Significantly LimitedClick Here

Electronic Armageddon: How An EMP Bomb Would Be A Deathblow To Life As We Know It

Posted in EMB with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2010 by saynsumthn

Earlier this month, NASA warned that as the Sun wakes up from its “deep slumber,” a massive solar storm could wreak havoc on our electronics, from satellites to the electrical grid, causing damages up to 20 times the cost of Hurricane Katrina.

But the Sun isn’t the only threat to our electronic lifeline. National Geographic explorers the risk and consequences of the “electronic Armageddon” that could be caused by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bomb.

An EMP bomb, National Geographic explains, is “a bomb that’s designed to go above the atmosphere and release huge amounts of energy,” some of which in the form of gamma rays. Such a weapon would cripple electronics, but not kill people.

“In less than a billionth of a second, the electrical intensity on Earth’s surface would become so hot that microchips would fry, power lines would overload and the electric grid would collapse,” says National Geographic, describing . “Everything with microelectronics in it would stop: your car, your computer, the subway. There would be no electricity.”

Learn more about what would happen if an EMP bomb were ever detonated in the video below, then find out more about solar flares.

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more about "Electromagnetic Pulse Simulation", posted with vodpod



Nasa solar flare space storm warning: a British scientist writes

June 2010

Senior Nasa scientists have warned of the problems that a once-in-a-generation “space storm” could pose to Britain. Here a British space scientist, Dr Chris Davis, explains why this has occurred and what is being done about it.

“Look at images of the Sun taken from space and you will see that it is not the plain yellow disk that we see shining through the clouds on Earth.

Spacecraft images reveal the Sun as a rotating, seething fiery ball of electrically charged fluid. Magnetic fields generated by this constant churning drive the activity cycle of the Sun.

Complex tangles of high-intensity magnetic field are created from which violent eruptions of material can occur. Each one of these solar storms is a magnetic bubble containing around a billion tonnes of material from the hot solar atmosphere travelling at a million miles an hour.

The more tangled the Sun’s magnetic field, the more frequent these eruptions become, with the number of outbursts reaching a crescendo every eleven years or so.

When a solar storm is launched into space, the material accelerated with it represents a hazard to space-borne electronics and astronauts.

Sitting on a ball of rock some 93 million miles from this cosmic popcorn machine, we have an interest in knowing when such a storm is heading towards us and what the consequences will be when one arrives.

The most beautiful manifestation is the aurora (the northern and southern lights), created when hot solar particles enter the Earth’s protective magnetic bubble and energise the atmosphere high above the north and south poles.

As these charged particles flow through the Earth’s ionosphere (an electrified layer in the Earth’s upper atmosphere), they can induce surges within the world’s power grids that can damage vital transformers.

As we head towards the next peak in solar activity in 2013, researchers at Lancaster University are developing computer models to investigate the effects of such currents on our national grid system.

The energy dumped into the upper atmosphere during such a storm can also temporarily distort and weaken the earth’s ionosphere, disrupting radio communications and reducing the accuracy of civilian GPS navigation systems.

The speed, intensity and frequency of these solar storms is very variable and predicting their occurrence is the holy grail of solar science. Missions such as the two Nasa STEREO spacecraft are doing much to advance our understanding.

Viewing the Sun from positions either side of the Earth, these spacecraft have made the first 3D images of the Sun, allowing complex changes in the Sun’s magnetic field to be studied in great detail prior to the eruption of a solar storm.

The STEREO mission also carries two UK-built cameras that image the space between the Sun and the Earth so that Earth-directed storms can be tracked all the way to our planet.

At the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, researchers are working with government forecasters in the USA to improve predictions of a storm’s arrival at Earth.

Given enough warning, satellite operators can hibernate sensitive electronics, power companies can prepare for surges and astronauts reschedule spacewalks.

With over 100,000 images collected from the UK cameras so far, keeping up with the Sun’s tantrums is a full-time job.

As a result, the UK STEREO team have joined forces with the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and the Galaxy Zoo team to create “solar stormwatch” where member of the public can assist this pioneering research by identifying and tracking storms in STEREO images.

Some may even help predict the arrival of the next solar storm at Earth.

The Sun produces a “perfect storm” at Earth once per century.

An event in 1859 caused major disruptions to the US telegraph system. In 1989 a solar storm caused the power-grid in Quebec to fail.

As we become dependent on satellite technology we will need a reliable space weather forecast.”

More here