Center for Security Policy, Washington DC, on June 18, 2013, reported on the US Shield Act. It’s among the greatest threats facing America today, U.S. Congressman Trent Franks states bluntly: a tremendous electromagnetic pulse, either naturally occurring or from a small nuclear device detonated outside the atmosphere. Excerpts below:
A large enough pulse (EMP) could destroy the electric grid, notably the rare and very expensive transformers that form the grid’s backbone. Without them and the power they deliver, a vast swath of American technology and every system that relies upon it would go dark for months or even years, some fear — essentially sending the country back to the stone age.
And we’re utterly unprepared for this potentially catastrophic threat, said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and former assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan.
“A pre-industrial society, which is what we would be reduced to, would not have the ability to sustain itself as we do today,” he told FoxNews.com.
“It’s really grim,” he told FoxNews.com.
To address this threat, Congressman Trent Franks and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich introduced a bill to protect the grid. Called the SHIELD Act, or the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage, the bill would push the federal government to install grid-saving devices, surge protectors that could save the transformers and power system from EMPs.
The main source of these wicked pulses are storms on the surface of the sun — giant, rope-like strands of plasma hundreds of thousands of miles long that have been rolling off the surface of that boiling star overhead in increasing numbers.
In other words, the sun sneezes and the economy shatters, as one article recently put it.
It’s no idle threat, either: in March 1989, the power grid in Quebec went from normal to shutdown in 92 seconds during a huge magnetic storm, according to a recent report by insurance giant Lloyds of London. It took 9 hours to restore normal operations, during which time ﬁve million people were without electricity. Total cost: about $2 billion.
The bill centers on protecting modern high-voltage transformers, which can weigh up to 400 tons, cost millions of dollars, and are made in only a handful of facilities in the U.S.
Gaffney notes that anyone aware of the system understands it’s something we need to take action on.
“If we can at least insure that the backbone of the electric grid survives — these transformers — you have a basis upon which to rebuild the rest of the country. If you lose those, you’re toast,” he told FoxNews.com.