The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) created by a nuclear weapon exploding high over the United States would destroy the nation's electrical grid and electrical systems across the country, according to Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, Executive Director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security.
Dr. Pry explained this nightmare scenario during an interview on "The Alex Nitzberg Show":
"The higher up you go, the bigger the field gets, and at an altitude of 300 kilometers with a single nuclear weapon you can cover the entire continental United States…most of Canada and a good chunk of Mexico with an EMP field. And this field is so powerful, in effect what it is, it's a super energetic radio wave. It's a radio wave that's got so much energy in it that it will damage and destroy electronic systems—all electronic systems, including the electric grid, the personal computer on your desk, SCADA systems—that is Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems which are little computers that run everything: The water supply, gas pipelines, gas coming out of electric engines, industrial processes and all kinds of things…."If the EMP is sufficiently powerful, Dr. Pry noted that airplanes would crash because their electrical systems would be affected.
Because the weapon would be detonated high above the earth, people would not hear the blast and they may not even see anything if the sky is cloudy. As Dr. Pry explained, "The only thing that would result would be this EMP, but it is enough to basically destroy our electronic civilization…"
Naturally occurring geomagnetic storms ejected from the sun could also wreak havoc on electrical systems worldwide. While the EMP produced by these storms would not impact smaller systems (like vehicles and planes) a sufficiently powerful geomagnetic superstorm would harm electrical grids globally.
"Electric grids everywhere on earth would collapse and put billions of lives at risk," according to Dr. Pry.
He explained that a solar storm in 1859 known as the "Carrington Event" destroyed the transatlantic cable. "Telegraph cables burst into flame all over the world and there were forest fires in various places…" He also said that "Fires broke out in telegraph stations."
NASA predicts that over 10 years there is a 12% chance of a geomagnetic super-storm. According to Dr. Pry, this "…virtually guarantees that within our lifetimes, or that of our children or grandchildren, we will experience a natural EMP that will put electronic civilizations everywhere on the planet at risk."He says the ramifications of an EMP event would be "…the greatest environmental catastrophe ever experienced by man."
Nuclear reactors are "…likely to go Fukushima," according to Dr. Pry, "not just from the power grid going down, but from the regulatory control systems being damaged and causing accidents in the nuclear reactors."
He explained that even if the systems regulating nuclear reactors remained operational, the lack of electricity would eventually cause problems when reserve power sources deplete:
"And the steam explosions will carry dangerous levels of radioactivity thousands of kilometers downwind from the nuclear reactors," Dr. Pry said, noting that "it's like having 100 dirty bombs going off and spreading radioactivity all over the country."
Dr. Pry also stated that without electricity, "…the water purification plants will back up and overflow. We know this happens, even during normal blackouts. And so you have in lakes and rivers hospital wastes and industrial wastes and human wastes back-flowing into already polluted lakes and rivers."
In addition to the dangers of a nuclear EMP and a naturally occurring EMP from a geomagnetic storm, Dr. Pry also explained that radio frequency weapons (RFWs) pose another threat.
RFWs are "non-nuclear EMP weapons." He stated that "They don't have the same radius of effect as a nuclear EMP weapon, only a few hundred yards in most cases. But our electric grid is so fragile that it wouldn't take much damage to bring the whole thing down for a protracted period of time."
He explained that while America contains 2,000 EHV transformer substations, "If you knew which ones to attack you could attack as few as nine of them according to a study by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If you took them out…that would put the country into a protracted blackout…"
Asked why he thinks the media are not more interested in alerting the public about the threat of nuclear EMP weapons, Dr. Pry said that the conservative media generally do show interest. "But the mainstream liberal media doesn't talk about the nuclear EMP threat very much," Dr. Pry explained, "or when they do they try to belittle it."
He opined that "any rational person" who lived in America during the period of Obama's tenure, "knows that the mainstream media are basically an echo chamber for the Obama administration and for the Democratic Party."
He argued that if the mainstream media had drawn more attention to the dangers of a nuclear EMP blast, the information would have undermined President Obama's promotion of the Iran deal and his desire for a "world without nuclear weapons."
Dr. Pry noted that some academics who "belittle the EMP threat" and "say it isn't real" support action to mitigate the impact of "the natural EMP threat." President Obama actually issued "an executive order on a national space weather action plan so-called, to protect against EMP, although as a practical matter the plan is a bad plan…" according to Dr. Pry.
Solutions to protect the electrical grid against these ominous threats already exist, but they have not been widely implemented. Dr. Pry believes that the grid should be hardened against these threats, adding that people should take action to prepare themselves for the possibility of a catastrophic, EMP-related blackout.
You can listen to my entire interview with Dr. Peter Vincent Pry on "The Alex Nitzberg Show."