• Task Force Warns: America’s Electric Grid Is Seriously Endangered

    Surge Summary: A new report sounds the alarm that America’s Electronic Grid is seriously vulnerable to a nation-devastating attack. So, what will be done?

    It seems there are threats and potential troubles on every side these days.

    Over at the Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard informs:

    A key defense task force issued the grim warning last week, that inadequate protection of the national electric grid imperils the very “survival of the United States,”

    The task force urged a strengthened focus to protecting the electric grid, intensifying its concerns that the energy industry isn’t taking the matter as seriously as it ought.

    In a memo, the Electromagnetic Defense Task Force ripped an industry report that said an attack on the grid, either from a high-altitude terrorist nuclear explosion or solar hit, would be “moderate” based on its testing and modeling.

    The Task Force said that the Electric Power Research Institute used outdated information and ignored key evidence that suggest an attack would lead to a massive blackout, or worse.

    Spokesperson for the Electromagnetic Defense Task Force, Air Force Maj. David Stuckenberg, explained EMP experts believe the industry report is downplaying the threat.

    “The EPRI report, if used to inform national bulk power standards could potentially jeopardize the survival of the United States under the right set of conditions presented by mother nature or an adversary,” he said.

    Contra the Major’s assessment, an EPRI spokesman maintains confidence in his group’s survey and final report.

    “EPRI stands behind our EMP research results, and welcomes technical debates that are supported by science, facts and data,” said Randy Horton, EMP project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. “Our conclusions were reached after three years of extensive laboratory testing and analysis of potential EMP impacts on the electric transmission system.”

    In its comparatively cheery analysis, the ERPI report believes a high-altitude nuclear attack

    “could trigger a regional service interruption but would not trigger a nationwide grid failure. Recovery times are expected to be similar to those resulting from large-scale power interruptions caused by other events provided that mitigations specific to the initial pulse are deployed. Possible damage to large power transformers was found to be minimal.”

    To its credit, the issue has become a huge focus of the administration. President Trump has already issued one executive order calling for new protections against EMP attacks and is working on a second one which will “put teeth” in the initial order, according to officials.

    The task force recently raised concerns that the nation’s  nuclear power plants are vulnerable to an EMP attack and could suffer a “meltdown.” Its memo painted the EPRI report as “too rosy; “optimistic in the extreme”.

    EPRI suggested that an attack would not knock out much power.

    But the task force noted that a 2003 blackout in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, caused by downed trees, cut power to 50 million and that did not involve any substantial attack on the lines. It also said the industry did not adequately consider the potential for cascading blackouts and electric grid failure.

    “If EPRI’s April 2019 recommendations are to be followed, the ultimate result would be a U.S. power grid with remaining vulnerabilities impacting large power transformers, generating equipment, and microgrids designed for emergency backup power,” said the task force memo, show below.

    The Task Force, however, is not only playing the role of critic, crediting the industry for testing its system. Still, Stuckenberg presses that more needs to be done to meet the Commander-in-Chief’s executive order to protect the grid.

    “The EDTF has one purpose, to present objective facts, observations, and analysis on complex electromagnetic issues to ensure the defense of our nation and allies in line with the President’s Executive Order,” he said.

    The U.S. government has an overriding responsibility to protect this country. It’s heartening this potential EMP threat is being looked at, but dark murmurings of this menace have been hovering around public policy discussion for decades. Whichever side of this debate is correct, — the EDTF or EPRI – our leaders need to settle this matter and make sure America’s electrical grid – a lifeline of our 21st-century civilization – is safe and secure.

    H/T: Paul Bedard/Washington Examiner

    Image : Adapted from: Johannes Plenio from Pixabay 

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