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EMP in USA Today

EMP

USA Today takes on the topic of electromagnetic pulse (EMT), a consequence of a nuclear bomb detonation in the atmosphere. Such a blast could result in wide-spread electrical system outages. It may sound like science fiction, but the possibility is all too real. An excerpt:

“The threat has even become political fodder, drawing warnings from former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a likely presidential contender.

‘We are not today hardened against this,’ he told a Heritage Foundation audience last year. ‘It is an enormous catastrophic threat.’

“The electromagnetic pulse threat is a function of simple physics: Electromagnetic pulses and geomagnetic storms can alter Earth’s magnetic field. Changing magnetic fields in the atmosphere, in turn, can trigger surging currents in power lines.

“In the nuclear scenario, the detonation of an atomic bomb anywhere from 25 to 500 miles high electrifies, or ionizes, the atmosphere about 25 miles up, triggering a series of electromagnetic pulses. The pulse’s reach varies with the size of the bomb, the height of its blast and design.

“Gingrich last year cited the EMP Commission report in warning, ‘One weapon of this kind that went off over Omaha would eliminate most of the electrical production in the United States.’”

Naysayers say such a scenario would be suicide for the country that launched such an attack; nevertheless, an EMP scenario definitely is possible. Heritage missile defense experts, including James Carafano, have written about EMP. Browse the blog archives under the tag “EMP” for more information.

(Hat tip: Conn Carroll at The Foundry)

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