The affected distance of the blast is usually within line-of-sight of the explosion’s center point. In other words, sending a bomb up over Kansas could affect the total geographical United States if the blast were high enough and large enough.
Effects of EMP
The impact of the electromagnetic pulse is amplified by the short span of time between events. E1 activities are high frequency, fast and simultaneous. It is difficult to provide protection against the E1 wave, and it will cause electrical breakdowns in computers, communications, equipment in buildings, sensors, and protective systems, to name a few.
Because of the speed and high energy, devices such as surge protectors will not work. E2, at a lower intensity, would not be an issue for critical infrastructure systems but due
to the already created damage of the E1 pulse, may further enhance damage to systems. The E3 pulse threatens long-line power delivery systems, including underground and undersea cables. This means a disruption in power supplies.
Why Worry About EMP?
America’s society has become electronically dependent and vulnerable to the EMP effects. After an EMP, the sky burns with colors as the cities darken. Shortly, transportation for medical needs, food transport, and all electronic communication ceases. Buses and automobiles come to a halt on streets with darkened streetlights, cellphone screens go blank, and computers stop working. All these results, and more, are possibilities with an electromagnetic pulse. With the unrest in the Middle East, and potential developments of bomb-grade Uranium and Plutonium within unstable countries, this is a serious threat.
As many fear, this is not a topic for fiction horror stories but a real threat to the United States, which needs to be taken seriously and prepared for. Continued vigilence of nuclear bomb capabilities in other countries is critical. Infrastructure remedies are being developed for this type of emergency, and individuals can replace damaged electronics, but the U.S. is currently vulnerable to an EMP attack.
Vergano, D. Electromagnetic pulse impact far and wide. USA Today. (Oct. 27, 2010). Accessed 30 November, 2011.
Butt, Yousaf, M. The Emp threat: fact, fiction, and response (part1). The Space Revies. (Jan. 25, 2010). Accessed 30 November, 2011.
CNN. November 22 National Security Debate Transcript. Accessed 30 November, 2011.
Forstchen, W., Ph.D. “EMP 101” A Basic Primer & Suggestions For Preparedness, One Second After. Accessed 30 November, 2011.
Foster, John, Dr. et al., Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse(EMP) Attack, Volume 1: Executive Report (2004). Accessed 30 November, 2011.
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