130 million Americans at risk, yet feds have no national planning scenario in place.
WASHINGTON – Buried in a 303-page report is an assessment by the Department of Homeland Security that a massive electromagnetic pulse event caused by a solar flare could leave more than 130 million Americans without power for years.
In spite of the admission of the cataclysmic consequences of an EMP event, DHS still has not added the threat to its 15 National Planning Scenarios.
The assessment of potential damage to the power grid is in a March 2012 report released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a DHS agency, this month titled “Federal Interagency Response Plan – Space Weather 2012.”
In the report, DHS outlined what it called “considerations for federal interagency response planning.”
The FEMA report referenced a 2010 analysis of the impact of space weather on the U.S. electric grid.
It referred to an extensive study by John Kapperman and William Radasky of the National Oceanic and Aeronautical Administration, or NOAA, that examined the resiliency of the U.S. electric grid, based on a study that went back to 2008.
The study concluded large-scale blackouts caused by an EMP event would affect more than 130 million people in the U.S. “for years.”
Such an event either would damage or destroy some 300 large extra-high-voltage transformers, resulting in a “prolonged recovery period with long-term shortages of electric power to the affected areas.”
The Kapperman and Radasky study focused on states east of the Mississippi River and parts of the Pacific Northwest.
The assessment dovetails with similar studies by NASA and the National Science Foundation that concluded up to 90 percent of the American people would die from either starvation or disease resulting from a direct hit of the most intense X-class solar flare.
Because DHS has not issued a National Planning Scenario for an EMP, local communities won’t have plans in place for first responders and law enforcement.
The concern about an EMP event is particularly relevant now, since the Sun is going through an 11-year cycle that is reaching its peak, a solar storm maximum, in which it spews flares from its surface in all directions, with some potentially hitting Earth.
Written by F. MICHAEL MALOOF
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