Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Cold comfort

A glimpse of a grim future.

A nuclear EMP would involve a device exploding at high altitudes above the Earth’s surface. The detonation would create a series of shocks that would threaten unprotected electronics (such as personal electronics and communications lines) and long-line network systems (including electric transmissions, communications lines, and both oil and natural gas pipelines). Such damage would be serious and deadly.

However, the nations capable of launching a nuclear EMP device that could seriously degrade our critical infrastructure are unlikely to, either because they are our allies (e.g., France, Israel, and the United Kingdom) or because they have too much to lose from retaliation (e.g., China). Rogue states with nuclear weapons, like North Korea, lack the technology necessary to miniaturize the weapon, mount it on a missile, and fire it accurately enough to cause a widespread EMP catastrophe.

Finally, although it’s possible for terrorist or criminal groups to acquire nuclear weapons, they lack the organization necessary to operate and detonate it, let alone the technological know-how to miniaturize and launch it 30,000 feet into the air.

Not YET, they don’t. But not to worry; it’s not as if there are any other potential threats–natural ones, say…uhh, that would be at all likely to…umm….uhhhh…

Oh crap.

The more likely source of an EMP event is the sun itself.

Just great.

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4 thoughts on “Cold comfort

  1. The sun, at least, would presumably not play favorites. The proggies oft-stated desire to return to a simpler time would also be fulfilled so there’s that. None of them would survive of course so there’s that as well.

  2. The bullshiite about them lacking “ technological know-how to miniaturize and launch it 30,000 feet into the air.” shows how incompetent or dishonest they truly are. 30K feet is FAR TOO LOW to do the damage they would like. 300 miles or slightly more, and over the center of the country, is where it’s at. The Geraniums and the Norks have BOTH shown the ability to orbit satellites. Placing one into orbit is FAR more difficult than a one-way trip. And with the help of the Pakis, “miniaturizing” a nuclear weapon to satellite size is not an issue. Or do you REALLY think that the Pakis would not assist their Geranium Brothers in Islam in destroying the Great Satan? And that the Geraniums would not forward that techno to the Norks as well?

  3. Don’t drink the FUD. The technological barriers to a successful EMP attack are second only to the strategic idiocy needed to waste a first strike nuclear attack on it to begin with. That’s kind of why WE never bothered with EMP-centric delivery platforms– if you’re going to lob the big portabella, better make it count.

  4. Nuclear pumped high altitude EMP generates 3 pulses, E1 which is measured in nanoseconds, E2 which is in microseconds, and E3 which is seconds to minutes long. Each has a different mechanism by which it is generated. The notable difference between an HEMP and a Carrington Event is that the HEMP will destroy electronic components, while the Carrington Event would not. Both would take out the power grid, resulting in 90% casualties in the CONUS.

    As regards the inability of North Korea to field an EMP device, the two major requirements are the ability to loft a weapon to about 300 miles in altitude over the US, and the ability to design and deploy a fission device capable of being launched into orbit. Currently there are two NK satellites orbiting the Earth, at an altitude of 300 miles. North Korea has successfully tested fission weapons; whether or not they have, as yet, been able to make a compact weapon that can be launched into orbit remains to be seen, but absent outside intervention, it is reasonable to assume that eventually they will succeed.

    An EMP strike on the US would destroy the country and kill over 90% of the population in less than a year with a single weapon. I cannot think offhand of a more devasting use of one weapon.

    Food for thought.

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