40 years ago this week, lightning struck the power station, blacking out the town of New York and surrounding and surrounding suburbs. Believe it or not, such a scenario is a lot more likely now, thanks to North Korea.
Thats because Americas electrical main grid has become increasingly reliant on electronic control systems since 1977, which makes it more vulnerable to an outage. And today, the possibility of a terrorist attack, that are launched by North Korea, indicates the entire country could be plunged directly into darkness.
Even worse, due to the high degree of electronic reliance, restarting a power plant which has gone offline is more difficult within times past.
The grid has become extremely automated and, if remote electronic communication goes down, you need someone on the substation to flip the in order to turn it back on after a good outage, says Tom Popik, chief of the Foundation for Resilient Communities, which has been warning for years about the danger to Americas electric supply program.
That time was underscored last weekend, each time a heatwave knocked out a power place in the San Fernando valley associated with Los Angeles. Though terrorism was rapidly ruled out, the effect was the same: a lot more than 100, 000 residents were remaining without power.
And thats the best type of blackout. The nightmare scenario is definitely an attack on the grid from a good electro-magnetic pulse weapon, or EMP. North Korea is believed to possess purchased the necessary technology to create a good EMP from a Russian supplier over ten years ago. If that technologies has been sufficiently developed, a Northern Korean EMP could be launched through rocket into space, and detonated. The resulting pulse waves can knock out multiple power channels in the U. S., and create a domino effect.
Ironically, the U. S i9000. power grid is now more prone to such an attack than it was 40 years ago, when New York City went darkish. The electric grid is only meant to withstand individual failures, Popik alerts. The grid is far less long lasting now than it was even in the particular 1940s.
Thats because electricity supplied by gas is no longer backed up by oil storage containers. Those tanks were removed due to environmental concerns, and besides, the cheaper to burn natural gas compared to fuel oil. As an example, in Ca, 97% of generation capacity experienced backup oil tankers onsite within 1996. Today that figure will be 29%.
I think we are living in an associated with misplaced priorities and excess confidence, Popik says. I think the confidence is that long-distance delivery of electrical power and gas will always be reliable. Within an age of cyber-attack and physical strike, the reality could be startlingly different.
Its time for you to flip on the switch in our considering our energy security. Power upon.
John Moody is usually Executive Vice President, Executive Publisher for Fox News. A former Ancient rome bureau chief for Time publication, he is the author of four textbooks including ” Pope John Paul II: Biography. inch