Practical Engineering: How Would a Nuclear EMP Affect the Power Grid?

Photo by Parker Coffman on Unsplash

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst who shares the following video from Practical Engineering on YouTube:

Click here to view on YouTube.

As I’ve mentioned in past articles, I believe taking some precautions against EMPs is important. While I feel that an intentional nuclear EMP is unlikely, our local star can cause even more damage to an even larger portion of our planet if it decides to cause a solar storm like the Carrington Event.

For an in-depth look at practical ways you can protect your gear from EMPs (and dispel a few myths), check out our interview with Dave (NM0S) in this EMP primer.

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5 thoughts on “Practical Engineering: How Would a Nuclear EMP Affect the Power Grid?

  1. mangosman

    I would be more worried about the nuclear reactor which is 147.97 million km away, it is called the sun!,hole%20high%20speed%20stream%20influences.,hole%20high%20speed%20stream%20influences.

    Rather than the vagaries of Youtube a more reliable resource is
    I do not like your EAS system because, if most people use phones and smart speakers in place of radios they will never get a warning under these conditions. Satellite radio will also be stopped as well.
    Also whilst 77 radio stations have generator power backups, how does the warning get from the civil defence authorities to the radio station? Some of the trials haven’t been too successful and false alarms also occur.
    A much better system is Emergency Warning Functionality within Digital Radio Mondiale. It will wake a radio on standby, tune it to the emergency warning data on an existing broadcast signal, the receiver will sound an alert ‘siren’ to wake a sleeping victim, make a loud announcement. If the radio has a screen it will show a map of the affected area, and Journaline, which is an indexed text system can give lots of detailed instructions. The system is also able to restrict the activations to the rectangle specified by the civil defence authority.

    Devices on the end of long electricity lines are most likely to be affected.

    Some things have improved, the use of fibre optic communications ‘cables’ are unaffected by EMP as long as the led and phototransistor modules on each end of the fibre is fed from back up power which could come from a PV panel and battery or from a fossil fuelled generator. Similarly the transmitter must be powered the same way.

    Vehicles could be used to deliver messages to radio stations, even EV provided there are PV/battery systems at the depots for emergency services.

    These are just some thoughts…..

  2. Jock Elliott

    Good stuff, this. An EMP could put us back to the 1700s in a heartbeat.

    For a fictional look at what might happen, I recommend the books of William Forstchen . . . starting with “One Second After.”

    Cheers, Jock


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