“A nuclear bomb that detonates 40 miles above a target (and hundreds of miles away) could deliver serious consequences, Henry F. Cooper, who was the director of the Strategic Defense initiative under President George H.W. Bush, wrote.

“He pointed to the time the U.S. detonated nuclear warhead 900 miles southwest of Hawaii. It was 1962 and the high-altitude nuclear bomb “destroyed hundreds of street lights in Honolulu, caused electrical surges on airplanes in the area and damaged at least six satellites.”

What if a nuclear device were unleashed directly above the continental United States?

Far more serious.

Russian generals, notes the Journal piece, reported back in 2004 that North Korea has in its possession the designs for these so-called “super EMP nuclear weapons” (electromagnetic pulse). “At around that time, Congress put together a commission to study such an explosion, and determined that there would be no effects on the ground, but the high-altitude electromagnetic pulse would render ‘critical electricity-dependent infrastructure’ inoperable,” added Fox.

Can you imagine a day without any lights, computers, water pumps, refrigeration, heating, cell phones, landlines — let alone a week? The list seems endless.

An organization called Family Security Matters noted last year: “Contrary to some ‘expert’ analysis, both the recent North Korean nuclear and the Iranian ballistic missile tests are deadly serious threats to the United States. Especially due to the close military cooperation of North Korea and Iran, their combined capabilities could very well be a precursor warning of a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States, for which we are, tragically, now totally unprepared.

“Even an EMP attack from a single 10-kiloton nuclear weapon of the type now in the North Korean arsenal could cause as we noted earlier cascading failures that could blackout the U.S. Eastern Grid for months or even years, and dramatically harm the civilian economy. It could be delivered by a short-range missile fired off a freighter some hundreds of kilometers off our shores, and detonated at an altitude above 30-70 kilometers.”

Way back in 2011, the Heritage Foundation fretted that:

“An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) over the United States could end modern life in America overnight. Whether caused by an enemy attack (a nuclear device detonated above the atmosphere) or by a natural phenomenon (a geomagnetic storm), an EMP can cause entire regions of the country to lose electricity—permanently. Despite the EMP Commission’s recommendations in 2004 and 2008, hardly any progress has been made in protecting the country from an EMP attack and its catastrophic results. The U.S. must prepare to deal with an EMP—now.

“While the ability of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to inflict catastrophic damage on U.S. infrastructure has been a known fact for decades, insufficient efforts have been taken to mitigate the threat. A survey of congressional, federal, state, local, and international measures to deal with the threat reveals more complacency than action.”

[Feedback (unedited): “Regarding the article on EMP/Solar CME or sunspot energy effects on our electrical grid. The potential for damages goes beyond what many realize. The effects of these sorts of electromagnetic energy can cause destruction of anything with a transistor, and for one, cell phones often have many MILLIONS of them. Any ONE of them failing would cause failure of the entire phone or system. All of our electronics these days have integrated circuits, with many transistors bunched in together. Even our cars have many of these for most every system in them. An EMP would put a surge of high energy electricity through these systems, causing arcs of points in the systems and destruction of components. They would not be fixable. They would have to be replaced. But then there is another problem. All of the spare parts would be subject to the same damages from the EMP. Even with shielding, many could still suffer enough to me rendered forever useless. The electrical grid would overload as well and many of the huge, key transformers in the grid (they are huge, big house sized) would short out and burn up their coils, making them useless and if reparable, a long and tedious job at least. Replacing these would take a long time. New ones are ordered years in advance and the only supplier is China these days.

“Everything with a solid state circuit would be dead. Only in very rare instances would very ‘hardened’ transistor based electronics survive, but what would they be able to communicate with? Also consider, only very well insulated solid-state electronics parts would possibly survive. The only electronics that are mostly immune are tube powered. Tubes are designed to deal with electrical surges by producing heat and heat generally doesn’t hurt a tube system..in moderation of course. Autos and engines with mechanical systems and points and coil ignition systems would work as well, so long as they have not been converted over with solid state ignitions. Alternators may work, but the diodes could suffer varying amounts of damage. Old-style generators, would work, if they do not have solid state voltage regulators. Some solar panels may survive, but the systems that support them could fail.

“So, no modern technology at all. Not much transportation. No appliances, no communication, no trucks to carry food, no equipment to harvest food, all of this would mean death to many, many people in weeks.

“Bear in mind, EMP is quick and probably would only be one event. A solar event could take days to end, depending on if it were an impulse (quick and over but could be repeated without warning) from a sunspot, or a long lasting Coronal Mass Ejection (a slow ‘cooking’) of great energy, which could last for days. All radio transmissions would be greatly effected during these solar events and if so, the effects could be worldwide if they persisted over many hours as the globe rotates into effective position with the sun.

“An EMP/Solar event could indeed shove our world or at least a portion of it, back into the 19th Century. And not to forget, a solar event, the Carrington Event of 1859, which cased arcs of electricity to injure telegraph operators and start fires on the plains from arcs of electricity from the telegraph lines to folage and in telegraph offices and shut down that old technology, was in that 19th century era. Imagine today!

“Just thought you might like to know how serious this could be.”]

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