Like most experts in the field, Solar physicist David Hathaway of the National Space Science & Technology Center has confidence in the conveyor belt model and agrees with Dikpati that the next solar maximum should be a doozy. But he disagrees with one point. Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research forecast puts Solar Max at 2012. Hathaway believes it will arrive sooner, in 2010 or 2011. Who's right? Time will tell. Either way, a storm is coming. - NASA, Solar Storm Warning, March 10, 2006
Super solar flare [Photo courtesy of NASA]
By Terrence Aym
May 25, 2011
NASA and the European Space Agency have been warning the world for two years about the approaching catastrophes that may unfold during late 2011 through 2012.
Few have been listening.
Like most experts in the field, Hathaway has confidence in the conveyor belt model and agrees with Dikpati that the next solar maximum should be a doozy. But he disagrees with one point. Dikpati's forecast puts Solar Max at 2012. Hathaway believes it will arrive sooner, in 2010 or 2011.
Calling it a "once in a lifetime event," NASA warns that killer solar flares can slam the Earth, knocking out the Northern Hemisphere's technological infrastructure and kicking everything back to the level of the late 1800s.
Russia too has voiced concern. And now the eminent astrophysicist, Alexey Demetriev ["PLANETOPHYSICAL STATE OF
THE EARTH AND LIFE"], claims what is happening is worse—much worse—than what NASA and the ESA have admitted:
Our entire solar system is entering an immense, deadly, interstellar energy cloud.
World defenseless against unknown, alien cloud
Terrified scientists at NASA discovered on July 14, 2010 that our system is passing through an interstellar energy cloud. This highly energized, electrified cloud of gas is disturbing and disrupting the sun. In conjunction with Earth's weakening and moving magnetic shield, the world is becoming defenseless against massive solar flares and intense radiation.
NASA, the ESA and the National Academy of Science have issued an unprecedented solar storm warning for 2012. But what NASA and the federal government are hiding, according to Demetriev, is that the sun—and everything in our solar system—has plunged into an alien, unknown photon cloud...a belt of danger that could precipitate gigantic solar explosions, magnetic anomalies, careening cometary masses and destabilize the orbits of some asteroids.
Entire solar system at risk
Dr. Demetriev has revealed that both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes report that the entire solar system is at risk. Worse, Merav Opher, a NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator from George Mason University says this interstellar energy cloud is unstable and turbulent.
The Russian scientist further claims this cloud of energy is exciting the atmospheres of our planets and especially our sun. As this interstellar energy cloud continues to excite/charge the sun, it causes the sun to become more active, resulting in greater output from the sun. [Source: Coup Media Group]
The bottom line is bigger and more frequent solar storms and coronal mass ejections (CME’s) resulting in the Carrington effect, named after 19th Century scientist Richard Carrington . The Carrington effect predicts the generation of supermassive flares that affect the Earth in ways that are very unpleasant.
This interstellar cloud of electrical energy is also absorbed by the Earth, and scientist have found that it results in more earthquakes, all while dramatically affecting the weather.
Demetriev warns to prepare for the worst.
“Global catastrophe! Not in tens of years from now, but in ones of years.”What to expect? The strong possibility of the loss of high technology, increasing superstorms, an encroaching Ice Age, more frequent and massive earthquakes and volcanic activity, tsunamis and Earth exposed to deadly radioactive baths.
In short, the 2012 fearmongers may not have been far from the truth after all. If Alexey Demetriev is correct, the events occuring in 2012 will be just short of Doomsady...
April 26, 2011
NASA has forecasted super solar storms for 2012 and is sounding the alarm it could knock out the Earth’s entire electrical grid and kill 1 billion people. If proper precautions aren’t taken it could lead to nuclear meltdowns around the entire world.
During a solar superstorm most communication will be blasted out of existence; power will fail. Cities will be left without light, and water and food will run out. Civil unrest will surge as society collapses in a matter of days. The US federal and state governments will be hard-pressed to restore order amongst 300 million people as mass starvation sets in and sources of fresh water dwindle.
One billion could die
Restoration of the infrastructure could take years—even a decade or more. During the interim more than a billion people could die worldwide—more if warfare breaks out between countries desperate for scarce resources.
Michio Kaku adds his voice to the warnings
World renown American astrophysicist Dr. Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics in the City College of New York of City University of New York and the co-founder of string field theory, is worried about a potential catastrophe and has joined in NASA’s warning.
Appearing recently on FoxNews, Kaku said,
“We’re talking about a potential Katrina from space.”But Kaku sees the disaster as 10 times greater than Katrina—perhaps even worse than that.
“We’d be thrown 100 years into the past,” he explained. The transition to the 1800s would occur as quickly as flipping a light switch off.
Of course NASA gave similar warnings about last years solar eruption’s which came and went without a single hiccup.
The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled “Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts.” It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina...
On the other hand we can not forget that the Fukushima nuclear disaster was caused by a power outage, and if a power outage like this does occur, many reactors around the world would be out power and …
By Terrence Aym, Helium
February 7, 2011
Comment: The Earth doesn't stop wobbling all of a sudden for no reason. We are seeing the effects of a change in the electro-magnetic forcing upon the Earth (weather and geology). The change is forced upon the Earth and not the other way. For example if other planets experience a magnetic change, this is a smoking gun that it doesn't come from the Earth but from space. Too bad the article has no references.
Now "it" is here: an unstoppable magnetic pole shift that has sped up and is causing life-threatening havoc with the world's weather.
Forget about global warming — man-made or natural — what drives planetary weather patterns is the climate and what drives the climate is the sun's magnetosphere and its electromagnetic interaction with a planet's own magnetic field.
When the field shifts, when it fluctuates, when it goes into flux and begins to become unstable anything can happen. And what normally happens is that all hell breaks loose.
Magnetic polar shifts have occurred many times in Earth's history. It's happening again now to every planet in the solar system including Earth.
The magnetic field drives weather to a significant degree and when that field starts migrating superstorms start erupting.
The superstorms have arrived
The first evidence we have that the dangerous superstorm cycle has started is the devastating series of storms that pounded the UK during late 2010.
On the heels of the lashing the British Isles sustained, monster storms began to pummel North America. The latest superstorm — as of this writing — is a monster over the U.S. that stretched across 2,000 miles affecting more than 150 million people.
Yet even as that storm wreaked havoc across the Western, Southern, Midwestern and Northeastern states, another superstorm broke out in the Pacific and closed in on Australia.
The southern continent had already dealt with the disaster of historic superstorm flooding from rains that dropped as much as several feet in a matter of hours. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. After the deluge bull sharks were spotted swimming between houses in what was once the quiet town of Goodna.
Shocked authorities now numbly concede that some of the water may never dissipate and have wearily resigned themselves to the possibility that region will now contain a small inland sea.
But then only a handful of weeks later another superstorm — the mega-monster cyclone Yasi — struck northeastern Australia. The damage it left in its wake is being called by rescue workers a war zone.
The incredible superstorm packed winds near 190 mph. Although labeled as a category-5 cyclone, it was theoretically a category-6. The reason for that is storms with winds of 155 mph are considered category-5, yet Yasi was almost 22 percent stronger than that.
A cat's cradle
Yet Yasi may only be a foretaste of future superstorms. Some climate researchers, monitoring the rapidly shifting magnetic field, are predicting superstorms in the future with winds as high as 300 to 400mph.
Such storms would totally destroy anything they came into contact with on land.
The possibility more storms like Yasi or worse will wreak havoc on our civilization and resources is found in the complicated electromagnetic relationship between the sun and Earth. The synergistic tug-of-war has been compared by some to an intricately constructed cat's cradle. And it's in a constant state of flux.
The sun's dynamic, ever-changing electric magnetosphere interfaces with the Earth's own magnetic field affecting, to a degree, the Earth's rotation, precessional wobble, dynamics of the planet's core, its ocean currents and — above all else — the weather.
Cracks in Earth's Magnetic Shield
The Earth's northern magnetic pole was moving towards Russia at a rate of about five miles annually. That progression to the East had been happening for decades.
Suddenly, in the past decade the rate sped up. Now the magnetic pole is shifting East at a rate of 40 miles annually, an increase of 800 percent. And it continues to accelerate.
Recently, as the magnetic field fluctuates, NASA has discovered "cracks" in it. This is worrisome as it significantly affects the ionosphere, troposphere wind patterns, and atmospheric moisture. All three things have an effect on the weather.
Worse, what shields the planet from cancer-causing radiation is the magnetic field. It acts as a shield deflecting harmful ultra-violet, X-rays and other life-threatening radiation from bathing the surface of the Earth. With the field weakening and cracks emerging, the death rate from cancer could skyrocket and mutations of DNA can become rampant.
Another federal agency, NOAA, issued a report caused a flurry of panic when they predicted that mammoth superstorms in the future could wipe out most of California. The NOAA scientists said it's a plausible scenario and would be driven by an "atmospheric river" moving water at the same rate as 50 Mississippi rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Magnetic field may dip, flip and disappear
The Economist wrote a detailed article about the magnetic field and what's happening to it. In the article they noted:
"There is, however, a growing body of evidence that the Earth's magnetic field is about to disappear, at least for a while. The geological record shows that it flips from time to time, with the south pole becoming the north, and vice versa. On average, such reversals take place every 500,000 years, but there is no discernible pattern. Flips have happened as close together as 50,000 years, though the last one was 780,000 years ago. But, as discussed at the Greenland Space Science Symposium, held in Kangerlussuaq this week, the signs are that another flip is coming soon."Discussing the magnetic polar shift and the impact on weather, the scholarly paper Weather and the Earth's magnetic field was published in the journal Nature. Scientists too are very concerned about the increasing danger of superstorms and the impact on humanity.
Superstorms will not only damage agriculture across the planet leading to famines and mass starvation, they will also change coastlines, destroy cities and create tens of millions of homeless.
Superstorms can also cause certain societies, cultures or whole countries to collapse. Others may go to war with each other.
A Danish study published in the scientific journal Geology, found strong correlation between climate change, weather patterns and the magnetic field.
"The earth's climate has been significantly affected by the planet's magnetic field, according to a Danish study published Monday that could challenge the notion that human emissions are responsible for global warming.In the scientific paper Midday magnetopause shifts earthward of geosynchronous orbit during geomagnetic superstorms with Dst = -300 nT the magnetic intensity of solar storms impacting Earth can intensify the effects of the polar shift and also speed up the frequency of the emerging superstorms.
"'Our results show a strong correlation between the strength of the earth's magnetic field and the amount of precipitation in the tropics,' one of the two Danish geophysicists behind the study, Mads Faurschou Knudsen of the geology department at Aarhus University in western Denmark, told the Videnskab journal.
"He and his colleague Peter Riisager, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), compared a reconstruction of the prehistoric magnetic field 5,000 years ago based on data drawn from stalagmites and stalactites found in China and Oman."
Possible magnetic pole reversal may also be initiating new Ice Age
According to some geologists and scientists, we have left the last interglacial period behind us. Those periods are lengths of time — about 11,500 years — between major Ice Ages.
One of the most stunning signs of the approaching Ice Age is what's happened to the Chandler wobble.
The Earth's wobble has stopped.
As explained in the geology and space science website earthchangesmedia.com, "The Chandler wobble was first discovered back in 1891 by Seth Carlo Chandler an American astronomer. The effect causes the Earth's poles to move in an irregular circle of 3 to 15 meters in diameter in an oscillation. The Earth's Wobble has a 7-year cycle which produces two extremes, a small spiraling wobble circle and a large spiraling wobble circle, about 3.5 years apart.
"The Earth was in October 2005 moving into the small spiraling circle (the MIN phase of the wobble), which should have slowly unfolded during 2006 and the first few months of 2007. (Each spiraling circle takes about 14 months). But suddenly at the beginning of November 2005, the track of the location of the spin axis veered at a very sharp right angle to its circling motion.And the Earth stopped wobbling — exactly as predicted as another strong sign of an imminent Ice Age.
"The track of the spin axis began to slow down and by about January 8, 2006, it ceased nearly all relative motion on the x and y coordinates which are used to define the daily changing location of the spin axis."
So, the start of a new Ice Age is marked by a magnetic pole reversal, increased volcanic activity, larger and more frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, colder winters, superstorms and the halting of the Chandler wobble.
Unfortunately, all of those conditions are being met.
Comment: All of the things described in this article are EFFECTS of changes in the solar capacitor. It is more likely that the Sun began to interact with its companion in 2005 exactly as described by the Cassiopaeans on 31 October, 2001:
Q: (L) Now according to these guys who are writing this web page about pole shift, they say it can be predicted where the poles will shift to. Is this in fact the case?
Q: (L) Why can't pole shifts be predicted? Can't we know where the new pole will end up?
A: Chaotic function here
Q: (L) Okay, in a pole shift does the lithosphere of the planet slide on the core? (A) No. We have to be very precise. There are three possible things that would come under the name pole shift. Only one of them may come, or two, or three, okay? And these are the following — the axis of rotation with respect to stars is changing, straightening out for instance; this is one thing; while all the rest goes with the axis, the lithosphere and the magnetic field. Second, the axis stays where it is, maybe it shifts a little bit; the lithosphere stays where it is — maybe it wobbles — but the magnetic field changes: for instance reverses. Third, axis stays, magnetic field stays, but the lithosphere is moving. So that's three ways a pole shift can happen. And of course there are things that come together. The most dramatic one which is seen from outside is when the axis of rotation changes. The next dramatic one is probably when the lithosphere changes. And the third of unknown consequences is when the magnetic pole changes, okay? So, we want to have an understanding what will be the main change. (L) Well I guess we ought to ask an even more basic question: are we looking at a pole shift happening? That's starting at the beginning. (A) Alright. (L) In the next ten years. Is a pole shift possible in the next ten years?
Q: (L) Is a pole shift of the axis...(A) Honey, you ask if the pole shift is possible, of course it's possible. But suppose it's almost zero probability? 'Is it possible' is not the right question. 'Is it going to happen?' That's a question. (L) Okay you ask, carry on. (A) Are we looking at a pole shift during the next ten or so years with a high degree of probability?
Q: (A) In this concept of pole shift, what would be the main feature of this pole shift, of all those which we were discussing?
A: New axial orientation, and magnetic reversal.
Q: (L) That's fairly dramatic. (A) Alright, now, change of axis or orientation of axis of rotation: can we say we would straighten up, getting almost perpendicular to the ecliptic? Or the other possibility is that it will fall down being almost parallel to the ecliptic. The third is that we'll flip completely by 180 degrees. We know it's highly unpredictable, but can we have a clue from which one is, so to say, dominate?
A: Perpendicularity will be restored.
Q: (A) We know the axis will change dramatically and magnetic reversal will happen. You didn't mention a change or shift of the lithosphere alone. Can we...
A: Lithospheric shift will feature to some extent.
Q: (A) But, that means eventually that the equator will almost not change because...
Q: (A) So it will just shift a little bit, but its not going to go to Hawaii? (L) Oh rats! That was my theory! Well, it was a good idea. (A) What about changes in the lithosphere: can we predict a little bit of change in geography, coming from motions in lithosphere and changes in water level?
A: Chaotic features predominate but in general it will be safer inland and in mountainous areas since less folding occurs in such locations.
Q: (A) Now, the major, the change of the orientation of the axis, what would be the main trigger, force, or activity, or what kind of event will trigger this change of the axis?
A: Cometary bodies.
Q: (L) Are the planets of the solar system going to kind of shift out of their orbits and run amok? Is that a possibility?
Q: (A) Due to cometary orbits alone?
A: Yes. Twin sun also.
Q: (A) When we speak about these cometary bodies, are we speaking about impacts?
A: Some will hit.
Q: (A) What would be — if any — the role played by electric phenomena?
A: Twin sun grounds current flow through entire system setting the "motor" running.
Q: (L) Does this mean that all of the different bodies of the solar system are like parts of some kind of giant machine, and once this electric current flows through them, depending on their positions relative to one another at the time this current flows, that it has some influence on the way the machine runs?
A: Yes, more or less.
May 4, 2010
A spokesman for the Center for Security Policy says that the threat of Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) is real. With Iran developing multi-stage Space Launch Vehicles (SLV) the possibility of such an attack will become even more probable than ever before:
And experts forecast if such an attack were a success, it effectively could throw the U.S. back into an age of agriculture.
“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy. “And that is exactly what I believe the Iranians are working towards.”
A recent launch of an SLV by Iran has sparked renewed concern of an attack that could send an electromagnetic pulse powerful enough to wipe out computer controls for systems on which society has come to rely, officials say.
As the G2 Bulletin reported last week, Ronald Burgess, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, revealed that Iran successfully launched a multi-stage SLV, the Simorgh. The device ultimately could be equipped with a nuclear bomb, which the U.S. intelligence community assesses Iran is developing.
Officials also report Iran has been testing detonation of its nuclear-capable missiles by remote control while still in high-altitude flight. The development makes a potential EMP attack on the U.S. more probable.
An enemy of the United States, be it Iran, North Korea or a terrorist organization, does not need to detonate a nuclear weapon on the ground.We believe this is the only reason why Iran would be testing SLV’s with in-flight detonations. With this kind of weapon, Iran (or anyone else) would simply need to strike first. Once the weapon goes off, it would be difficult to determine from where it came and to respond appropriately, as all forms of traditional communication would be wiped out.
A small-scale, five to ten kiloton weapon detonated 200 miles above Nebraska, or a few weapons detonated 50 miles or so above the eastern, western and central United States would do the job.
The effects would be nothing short of disastrous – literally the end of the world as we know it.
All unprotected and unhardened electrical devices would be left useless.
This means that everything, from the refrigerator in your kitchen to the semi-trucks that carry food across the country, would be non-functioning.
If an enemy of the USA wants to bring America to its knees without rendering the land completely useless, they could do so with an EMP weapon.
We’ve always believed that a mainland invasion of the United Stated would be difficult, if not impossible. But, if an EMP weapon were to be used, our country could effectively be invaded within a matter of months, as most of the population would be wiped out and the government and military infrastructures in disarray.
We consider EMP as one of the most significant threats out there. The recovery period from a collapse of this magnitude would be counted in decades, not years, thus, for those who are “prepping” for a worst-case scenario, consider long term sustainability planning when planning for an EMP SHTF scenario.
January 16, 2011
Computer expert, author and technical trend forecaster James Martin says what many others, including ourselves, have warned about for quite some time.
The electric and utilities power grid of the United States is completely unsecured and vulnerable to attack via the internet:
There is quite a lot of evidence that people have been hacking into the American grid, and probably the grids of other countries too, Martin said.
In the American grid they’ve found quite a large number of Trojan horses and trap doors, they’ve found quite a lot of hidden malware, not coming from the States but coming from somewhere outside the States,� he said.
If you knocked out all the power in America, it would be devastating. Normally when you get a blackout it comes back very quickly but there have been some that don’t. If it was a deliberate attack, then the people attacking it would try to do damage that could not be repaired quickly, he said.
If they caused the grid to crash it would be much worse than 2008. This is known today, but what I find rather alarming is that although it is known the authorities are not really trying to stop it by making it secure.
Certainly an outside entity could have a capability today to send many different malware messages into the grid at the same time in such a way that you could take down most of the grid, and may be all of the grid,he said.
The grid is full of huge transformers and pumps that are one off, which means that if you knock them out you can’t go and buy them off the shelf. If you picked out the things that could not be bought or not replicated quickly, and there a lot of those, then that would be damage that you couldn’t repair quickly.
‘You have a large amount of company-to-company automation and all of that could be put out of operation. If it was put out of operation it could do immense financial damage, enormously greater than the 2008 crash,he told The Independent.
Source: UK Independent
Forget about financial damage – that would be the least of our worries if the power grid was attacked in any sort of meaningful way. A complete power grid failure, or one that took out large regions in unison would put a complete stop to commerce across the North American continent. Yes, there would be financial damage, but more importantly, there would be no way to re-supply our just-in-time inventory systems. That means there would be no gas, no food, and no way of getting those things delivered until the grid came back up.
As Mr. Martin points out, a coordinated attack focused on the ‘one-off’ elements of the grid would mean that once that hardware was destroyed there would be no way to replace it quickly. And that means not days or weeks, but potentially months, perhaps even years before things were back to normal. When Hurricane Ike rampaged the Houston, TX area in 2008 it took down 95% of the metropolitan grid. This author was about 25 miles north-west of Houston at the time and can attest to the difficulties utility workers had with restoring power. It took over 3 weeks to get power running to the outlying areas of the city – and it would have taken much longer had those repair workers not traveled from as far as Florida to assist Texas. Now, consider if a disaster that took out the grid included not one, but several regional areas, where no workers would be able to come assist.
At the time of the Houston-area outage the first things to go were water, food and gas. Fights were literally breaking out at local gas stations. Those with home generators found them useless, as there was no fuel to keep them going. Grocery stores did not have reserve power, and those that did had it for maybe 12 hours, at which point all refrigeration came to a halt. City water filtration was non-existent, and “Boil Water” notices were posted all over the city – but there was no electricity available, so only those lucky enough to have fuel reserves for their generators or those with natural gas powered stoves were able to drink clean water. Luckily, this only affected a single major city and surrounding areas, and within a week water and emergency rations became available.
Consider, for a moment, the ramifications of a full-out extended down-grid scenario affecting multiple regions. It would be much like an EMP attack, though some electronic systems may remain operational. Nonetheless, researchers have estimated that a worst-case EMP scenario could lead to 90% casualty rate over the course of a year. We would hope that a grid-attack could be resolved much quicker than an EMP attack, but there would likely still be mass casualties as food stocks ran low, emergency response personnel stayed home to care for their families and violent crime and looting ran rampant.
How susceptible are we?
This is a topic of debate. Most of those people who have the power to harden and secure our grids will take no action until after a wide-scale event were to occur – at which point it would be much too late to do anything.
A close friend works for a large power company in the north-east. It just so happened that we had this very discussion a couple of weeks ago. He is a higher level executive at the company and when I asked how secure his company’s grid was in the event of a solar flare, cyber attack or EMP attack he responded, “Officially, we’re prepared to handle whatever comes our way. Unofficially, it will be a complete and utter disaster and we are simply not equipped to handle a mass failure.”
It is common knowledge that many elements of the U.S. power grid are decades old. We hear about smart meters being installed, but according to the friend at the power company, the smart grid portion is less than 1% of the complete grid. That means 99% of of the physical grid is essentially running on equipment that has been around since the 70′s and 80′s. All of that old equipment is plugged into computer systems, and all of the computer systems are plugged into and fully accessible via the internet.
According to James Martin and other computer experts, our systems have likely already been breeched and there is a real and serious possibility that trojans, malware and trapdoors have already compromised our systems. They may very well just be sitting there waiting to be activated, at which point they could launch a massive, coordinated cyber attack on essential parts of our power grid infrastructure.
We’re not just talking about software glitches that can be fixed with a quick reboot. We’re talking about cyber attacks that target the physical hardware.
Hard to believe that a computer program can destroy hardware? Think again.
Consider the Stuxnet worm that was recently used to take down 1/5 (or more?) of Iran’s nuclear facilities. According to the New York Times, the Stuxnet worm utilized advanced programming to remain dormant for a time, and once launched, attacked the physical centrifuges used to enrich uranium. While the worm spun centrifuges to the point they destroyed themselves, a portion of the program responsible for sensors and warnings sent human operators and monitoring systems the green light that everything was running like normal. Iran’s nuclear plants, much like the power grid of the United States, utilized old computer systems that were simply not equipped to handle advanced cyber-attacks that utilized 21st century cyber combat techniques.
There are plenty of enemies of the state who could bring down the US power grid infrastructure – China and Russia to name just a couple. And it’s no secret that the Chinese have been having their way with our networks for quite some time, so it is clearly a real and present danger. The US government regularly runs tests to Simulate Cyber Attacks on US the Internet Infrastructure.
In 900 Seconds: Cyber Attack Wouldn’t Take Long to Bring Down the USA, we previously outlined how a cyber attack might play out based on a report from Richard Clark, a one-time counter terrorist specialist with the US government:
In his warning, Mr Clarke paints a doomsday scenario in which the problems start with the collapse of one of Pentagonâ€™s computer networks.
Soon internet service providers are in meltdown. Reports come in of large refinery fires and explosions in Philadelphia and Houston. Chemical plants malfunction, releasing lethal clouds of chlorine.
Air traffic controllers report several mid-air collisions, while subway trains crash in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. More than 150 cities are suddenly blacked out. Tens of thousands of Americans die in an attack comparable to a nuclear bomb in its devastation.
Yet it would take no more than 15 minutes and involve not a single terrorist or soldier setting foot in the United States.
The threat is real, and if it were to ever occur, it would likely come around the same time as an attack on our financial systems – which, as we saw in the May 2009 “fat finger” controversy that brought the stock market down 1000 points in a matter of minutes, is not so difficult to accomplish.
The biggest concern for the average American should be that there is really no emergency response ready to deal with the possibility of a wide-spread power grid cyber attack. The US government has specifically said, through FEMA, that they will not be able to help everyone in the event of a major emergency (think Hurricane Katrina). That meansÂ you need take responsibility for yourself and family now, and Be Prepared to Be Without The System – Make It A Policy.
What will you do if there comes a time when there is no electricity, no gas, no clean water and no access to food for several weeks or months?
May 12, 2010
With our increasing dependence on the internet to transmit everything from emails and electronic payment information to air traffic control and transportation logistics, a properly targeted cyber attack could wreck havoc in the United States within minutes, says Richard Clark:
In his warning, Mr Clarke paints a doomsday scenario in which the problems start with the collapse of one of Pentagon’s computer networks.
Soon internet service providers are in meltdown. Reports come in of large refinery fires and explosions in Philadelphia and Houston. Chemical plants malfunction, releasing lethal clouds of chlorine.
Air traffic controllers report several mid-air collisions, while subway trains crash in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. More than 150 cities are suddenly blacked out. Tens of thousands of Americans die in an attack comparable to a nuclear bomb in its devastation.
Yet it would take no more than 15 minutes and involve not a single terrorist or soldier setting foot in the United States.
An enemy of the United States, whether foreign or domestic, wouldn’t need a nuclear bomb. They would simply need to take down the main computer networks. Many internet operations are centralized, especially in the private sector, so taking down something like the national DNS (Domain Name System) databases would put a stop to pretty much any communications used by the general public. An attack on Defense Department networks would be even more serious, potentially leading to a cascading effect across the entire nation.
Utilities, like water systems and electricity, are highly vulnerable, as they are built on very old technologies and are very dependent on each other due to old-style distribution systems. As an example, consider the massive black out that covered the entire north east for several days in 2003 while emergency crews worked to resolve the problems. Roughly one fifth of our country was out of power not because local power stations were taken down, but, according to the official story, because one or two main plants experienced outages due to natural causes (trees on power lines). There is still no definitive confirmation on what happened here, and for all we know this could have been a cyber attack testing our networks.
It’s no secret that hackers in countries like Russia, and especially China, have spent the last decade infiltrating and testing the stability and security of US networks – including the Pentagon and our satellite systems. At the first sign of potential international conflict, the initial wave of attacks will likely occur on the digital battlefield, resulting in downed communication systems, utilities, cable systems, GPS, cell phone networks, hardline networks and transaction processing systems.
Another issue, not related directly to defense computer networks, is that the plans for US water utility, electrical utility, and internet networks are readily available on the internet for anyone to download and analyze for vulnerabilities. We’ve essentially given any potential enemies a road map for how to bring down the United States without even firing a shot.
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Caused by a Nuclear Explosion High over the United States - Imminent Danger to the U.S. # 1By Don Koenig
Possible Causes for an EMP: A direct attack from a nation and/or terrorist group using one or more nuclear weapons exploded at very high altitude over the United States - a blast from a meteor exploding at high altitude in the atmosphere - check out this report on the solar EMP possibility.
U.S. vulnerability: The U.S. is more vulnerable than any other nation on earth to an EMP because she has become totally dependent on electricity and electronics for just about everything used in everyday living. This vulnerability has come about in the last few decades. All of the major enemies of the U.S. are aware of this vulnerability and that this is the easiest way to cripple the United States. Russia has this capability and tested it during the cold war. Some officials from Russia suggested they could use this capability against the United States in 1999 during the Balkans conflict. China now has this capability, and U.S. intelligence sources say that North Korea and Iran are actively developing the technology and capability.
Terrorist groups could get the capability from any one of these countries or from a few other countries either directly or by theft. The weapon could be delivered by a Scud missile hidden under a tarp from a medium sized ship in the shipping lanes off the coast of the United States. Scud missiles are available in the weapons market for about $100,000. If the United States were attacked with this weapon, the country may find it very difficult if not impossible to retaliate. Finding out who was responsible might not be easy especially if it was done by state sponsored terrorists or if terrorists carried it out on their own. If the U.S. responded in kind over a country like North Korea, it would not significantly change their way of life; and if the U.S. nuked their cities without serious proof, I can foresee a collective world reaction against the United States that would only make substantial recovery in the U.S. more difficult if not impossible. Even conventional warfare may not be possible because our military would have to be recalled to the United States to restore domestic order.
EMP Effects - total blackout - Y2K + X to the nth power: A large EMP would actualize the perceived Y2K threat of the year 2000 except the effects of an EMP would be many magnitudes worse than anyone's worst nightmare about Y2K. A large EMP would cause the immediate collapse of the North American power grid and the destruction of much unshielded electronic equipment in the area of the pulse. The extent of the pulse depends on many factors: it could hit the whole nation, a good part of the nation, or be more local. Those who would attempt such an attack would seek to maximize the extent of the damage; so more than likely, the pulse would hit much if not most of the United States. The EMP pulse itself has three components with each subsequent component causing further damage. An EMP is generated when Gamma Rays from a high altitude nuclear explosion interact with the atmosphere to produce a radio frequency wave pulse that would hit everything in line of sight of the explosion. A small crude nuclear weapon exploded high above the United States could create a devastating pulse.
If an EMP hit a large part of the United States it would not cause just a temporary power outage. It could take months or even years to get power back to most of the United States. Electronic equipment and power generating equipment in power plants themselves would be damaged, and there will be no way of easily replacing this equipment. Even if the equipment were not damaged, the grid could not easily be brought back up. It takes a source of power to bring up modern power plants to put them back on line. Just bringing up the whole U.S. grid from scratch would take weeks or months. Even if the blackout were only for weeks, the disruption to the United States would be immense.
In a matter of hours there would be large-scale looting in the major cities, and in days there would be riots in all large cities over food and water. Marshal Law would be declared and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would nationalize all police forces and take control over managing the people of the United States. All available military would be following the directives of DHS as well.
A major EMP over a large part of the United States would cause all major transportation systems to break down. Most means of communication would not be possible. There would be no TV, little radio, no useable cell phone systems, no Internet system and no food or water distribution other than through the direction of Homeland Security. All essentials would be rationed. Those carrying out the DHS directives would confiscate all known critical supplies.
The civil disorder and disruptions that have taken place in New Orleans and southern Mississippi in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina are a small example of what would take place nationwide after an EMP. In that case, massive aid from the rest of the nation eased the crisis; but after an EMP, the whole nation will be coping with the crisis and little aid will be possible.
All able-bodied manpower in the United States would have to report for assignments directed by Homeland Security. All financial assets would be frozen. There would be no access to any money, the stock market would be closed, and the U.S dollar would become near worthless on the world market. For weeks, months, and perhaps years there could be little gross national product in the United States. The U.S is the largest debtor nation in the world so she would be forced to default on her debt, bringing about a massive world depression.
Even after the power was brought back up, it would be likely that much of the electronically-controlled infrastructure systems would have to be totally replaced. This could take many years. Meanwhile, financial assets in every category either would become worthless or lose tremendous value. All financial bubbles will burst.
Likelihood of this threat occurring before A.D 2025?
If significant military action is not taken against Iran and North Korea (if they do not immediately abandon their nuclear weapons program), it is almost certain that one or more EMP attacks will be attempted with the likelihood of success being high. The possibility of a successful EMP attack before 2025 AD would in my opinion be at least a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
If Iran and North Korea no longer have nuclear capabilities, the likelihood of an attack is then much less at least for a number of years. Pakistan still will be a problem because she has nuclear weapons, and a large segment of the population supports terrorism against the United States. It is unlikely that China would want an EMP to happen over the United States as long as she is getting rich exporting to the United States. (The China threat could be the reason the U.S. allows the seemingly insane trade imbalances.) If China no longer needs the U.S. because world demand for their products is more than they are capable of producing, and/or if Taiwan becomes a flash point, the likelihood of an EMP attack is again extremely high unless, by that time, the U.S. has taken major steps to harden the infrastructure against such an attack. If a cold war reemerges with Russia, they also might see a world without the United States as being in their best interest, and they also would pose a grave threat to the United States either directly or by supporting Islamic terrorists groups who would use this technology to bring the U.S. to destruction.
Non-state sponsored terrorism will continue to be a threat if they can get hold of a nuclear bomb. Some reports have indicated that nuclear bombs are available on the black market. I do not know if this is actually the case, but experts who have access to intelligence say the possibility of terrorists obtaining a nuke in the next 10 years is better than 50-50.
What can be done to stop this threat?
In the near term, the U.S. can only try to stop terrorists and terrorist nations from launching such an attack. What the United States really should do in the near term is to buy some time and take out Iran and North Korea's nuclear capabilities.
If the U.S. starts in earnest now, in about five years she can have the critical infrastructures hardened enough and the procedures put in place to protect critical equipment from the second and third component of an EMP. After this, an attack would probably not reduce the United States to less than a superpower, but it certainly would still cause enough damage to put the U.S. in turmoil and be a catalyst for a world depression. At this time the hardening of U.S. critical infrastructures is not taking place, and I know of no plans to do so on a large scale.
Another defensive tactic that the U.S. may be taking is trying to appease her enemies. This could be the secret reason for some of the foolish positions she takes in the Middle and Far East. Nevertheless, I believe appeasement is playing right into the hands of the enemies, and I believe that this policy is doomed to failure.
If the United States people can get their politicians off of their duffs, she can have most of the critical infrastructures hardened against an EMP attack in about five years. This would not cost all that much to do if all new critical electronics were manufactured to be shielded and hardened. The major problem is that most politicians have their head in the sand, and they are ignoring this real threat even after this threat was verified to them by the highest Intelligence sources and by their very own congressional appointed commission of scientists.
Therefore, since the danger are real, all people in the United States should have on hand, or have ready access to, at least six months of food and water. The sure way of escaping such a judgment is for the people of the United States to voluntarily stop all their wickedness and seek God's protection, but I just do not see that happening.
Documentation that this EMP threat is very real
I am not pulling this imminent threat to the United States out of thin air. A commission of top experts was appointed by the U.S. congress right after the 9/11 attack. They were commissioned to report to them on this EMP threat. The report was given to the congress in 2004 AD. The Congressional report gives all the details you may never want to know. Other intelligence sources have also written about this grave threat to the United States.
- Nuke over U.S. could unleash electromagnetic tsunami, from World Tribune article
- Gingrich sees Iran threat to U.S. like Nazi Germany
- Senator Jon Kyl speaks of this EMP threat
- Powerful Solar Storm Could Shut Down U.S. for Months
- 90 seconds from catastrophe from solar storm
By James Wesley Rawles, Survival Blog
December 24, 2010
It’s one or two years after an EMP attack and you are safely tucked away in your retreat somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Your storage foods have mostly been used and your high tech electronics is useless. The really bad stuff is mostly past. Now it’s try to stay fed and alive and pray that civilization as you know it is coming back. You’re going to have to work your environment to live. Ever wonder what life might be like? What would it really be like to have no running water, electricity, sewer, newspaper or Internet? No supermarket or fire department close at hand?
I have a good imagination but I decided to talk to someone who would know first hand what it was like: my mother. She grew up on a homestead in the middle of Montana during the 1920s and 1930s. It was a two room Cottonwood cabin with the nearest neighbor three miles away. She was oldest at 9, so she was in charge of her brother and sister.
This was her reality; I feel there are lessons here for the rest of us.
There was a Majestic stove that used wood and coal. The first person up at 4:30 AM, usually her father, would start the fire for breakfast. It was a comforting start to the day but your feet would get cold when you got out of bed.
A crosscut saw and axe was used to cut wood for the stove and after that experience, you got pretty stingy with the firewood because you know what it takes to replace it. The old timers say that it warms you when you cut it, when you split it, and again when you burn it. The homes that were typical on homesteads, and ranches of the era were smaller with lower ceilings than modern houses just so they could be heated easier. The saw and axe were not tools to try hurrying with. You set a steady pace and maintained it. A man in a hurry with an axe may loose some toes or worse. One side effect of the saw and axe use is that you are continuously hungry and will consume a huge amount of food.
Lights in the cabin were old fashioned kerosene lamps. It was the kid’s job to trim the wicks, clean the chimneys and refill the reservoirs.
The privy was downhill from the house next to the corral, and there was no toilet paper. Old newspaper, catalogs or magazines were used, and in the summer a pan of barely warm water was there for hygiene. During a dark night, blizzard, or brown out from a dust storm, you followed the corral poles -- no flashlights.
There were two springs close to the house that ran clear, clean, and cold water. The one right next to it was a “soft” water spring. It was great for washing clothes and felt smooth, almost slick, on your skin. If you drank from it, it would clean you out just as effectively as it cleaned clothes. Not all clean water is equal.
The second spring was a half mile from the cabin and it was cold, clear, and tasted wonderful. The spring itself was deep -- an eight foot corral pole never hit bottom -- and flowed through the year. It was from here that the kids would fill two barrels on a heavy duty sled with water for the house and the animals. They would lead the old white horse that was hitched to the sledge back to the buildings and distribute the water for people and animals. In the summer, they made two trips in the morning and maybe a third in the evening. In the winter, one trip in the morning and one in the evening. They did this alone.
Breakfast was a big meal because they’re going to be working hard. Usually there would be homemade sausage, eggs and either cornmeal mush or oatmeal. More food was prepared than what was going to be eaten right then. The extra food was left on the table under a dish towel and eaten as wanted during the day. When evening meal was cooked, any leftovers were reheated. The oatmeal or the mush was sliced and fried for supper. It was served with butter, syrup, honey or molasses.
The homemade sausage was from a quarter or half a hog. The grinder was a small kitchen grinder that clamped on the edge of a table and everybody took turns cranking. When all the hog had been ground, the sausage mix was added and kneaded in by hand. Then it was immediately fried into patties. The patties were placed, layer by layer, into a stone crock and covered with the rendered sausage grease. The patties were reheated as needed. The grease was used for gravies as well as re-cooking the patties. Occasionally a fresh slice of bread would be slathered with a layer of sausage grease and a large slice of fresh onion would top it off for quick sandwich. Nothing was wasted.
Some of their protein came from dried fish or beef. Usually this had to be soaked to remove the excess salt or lye. Then it was boiled. Leftovers would go into hash, fish patties, or potato cakes.
Beans? There was almost always a pot of beans on the stove in the winter time.
Chickens and a couple of milk cows provided needed food to balance the larder. They could not have supported a growing family without these two resources.
The kitchen garden ran mostly to root crops. Onion, turnip, rutabaga, potato and radishes grew under chicken wire. Rhubarb was canned for use as a winter tonic to stave off scurvy. Lettuce, corn, and other above ground crops suffered from deer, rats, and gumbo clay soil. Surprisingly, cabbage did well. The winter squash didn’t do much, only 2 or 3 gourds. Grasshoppers were controlled by the chickens and turkeys. There was endless hoeing.
Washing clothes required heating water on the stove, pouring it into three galvanized wash tubs -- one for the homemade lye soap and scrub board, the other two for rinsing. Clothes were rinsed and wrung out by hand, then hung on a wire to dry in the air. Your hands became red and raw, your arms and shoulders sore beyond belief by the end of the wash. Wet clothing, especially wool, is heavy; and the gray scum from the soap was hard to get out of the clothes.
Personal baths were in a galvanized wash tub screened by a sheet. In the winter it was difficult to haul, heat and handle the water, so baths weren’t done often. Most people would do sponge baths.
Everybody worked, including the kids. There were always more chores to be done than time in the day. It wasn’t just this one family; it was the neighbors as well. You were judged first and foremost by your work ethic and then your honesty. This was critical because if you were found wanting in either department, the extra jobs that might pay cash money, a quarter of beef, hog or mutton would not be available. Further, the cooperation with your neighbors was the only assurance that if you needed help, you would get help. Nobody in the community could get by strictly on their own. A few tried. When they left, nobody missed them.
You didn’t have to like someone to cooperate and work with him or her.
Several times a year people would get together for organized activities: barn raising, butcher bee, harvest, roofing, dance, or picnics. There were lots of picnics, usually in a creek bottom with cottonwoods for shade or sometimes at the church. Always, the women would have tables groaning with food, full coffee pots and, if they were lucky, maybe some lemonade (lemons were expensive and scarce). After the work (even for picnics, there was usually a project to be done first) came the socializing. Many times people would bring bedding and sleep out overnight, returning home the next day.
A half dozen families would get together for a butcher bee in the cold days of late fall. Cows were slaughtered first, then pigs, mutton, and finally chickens. Blood from some of the animals was collected in milk pails, kept warm on a stove to halt coagulation and salt added. Then it was canned for later use in blood dumplings, sausage or pudding. The hides were salted for later tanning; the feathers from the fowl were held for cleaning and used in pillows or mattresses. The skinned quarters of the animals would be dipped into cold salt brine and hung to finish cooling out so they could be taken home safely for processing. Nothing went to waste.
The most feared occurrence in the area was fire. If it got started, it wasn’t going out until it burned itself out. People could and did loose everything.
The most used weapon was the .22 single shot Winchester with .22 shorts. It was used to take the heads off pheasant, quail, rabbit and ducks. If you held low, the low powered round didn’t tear up the meat. The shooters, usually the kids, quickly learned sight picture and trigger control although they never heard those terms. If you took five rounds of ammunition, you better bring back the ammunition or a critter for the pot for each round expended. It was also a lot quieter and less expensive [in those days] than the .22 Long Rifle cartridges.
If you are trying to maintain a low profile, the odor of freshly baked bread can be detected in excess of three miles on a calm day. Especially by kids.
Twice a year the cabin was emptied of everything. The walls, floors, and ceilings were scrubbed with lye soap and a bristle brush. All the belongings were also cleaned before they came back into the house. This was pest control and it was needed until DDT became available. Bedbugs, lice, ticks and other creepy crawlies were a fact of life and were controlled by brute force. Failure to do so left you in misery and maybe ill.
Foods were stored in bug proof containers. The most popular were 15-pound metal coffee cans with tight lids. These were for day to day use in the kitchen. (I still have one. It’s a family heirloom.) The next were barrels to hold the bulk foods like flour, sugar, corn meal, and rice. Everything was sealed, or the vermin would get to it. There was always at least one, preferably two, months of food on hand. If the fall cash allowed, they would stock up for the entire winter before the first snowfall.
The closest thing to a cooler was a metal box in the kitchen floor. It had a very tight lid and was used to store milk, eggs and butter for a day or two. Butter was heavily salted on the outside to keep it from going rancid or melting. Buttermilk, cottage cheese and regular cheese was made from raw milk after collecting for a day or two. The box was relatively cool in the summer and did not freeze in the winter.
Mice and rats love humanity because we keep our environment warm and tend to be sloppy with food they like. Snakes love rats and mice so they were always around. If the kids were going to play outside, they would police the area with a hoe and a shovel. After killing and disposing of the rattlesnakes -- there was always at least one -- they then could play for a while in reasonable safety.
The mice and rats were controlled by traps, rocks from sling shots, cats and coyotes. The cats had a hard and usually short life because of the coyotes. The coyotes were barely controlled and seemed to be able to smell firearms at a distance. There were people who hunted the never-ending numbers for the bounty.
After chores were done, kid’s active imagination was used in their play. They didn’t have a lot of toys. There were a couple of dolls for the girls, a pocket knife and some marbles for the boy, and a whole lot of empty to fill. Their father’s beef calves were pretty gentle by the time they were sold at market -- the kids rode them regularly. (Not as much fat on those calves but a lot of muscle.) They would look for arrow heads, lizards, and wild flowers. Chokecherry, buffalo berry, gooseberry and currants were picked for jelly and syrups. Sometimes the kids made chokecherry wine.
On a hot summer day in the afternoon, the shade on the east side of the house was treasured and the east wind, if it came, even more so.
Adults hated hailstorms because of the destruction; kids loved them because they could collect the hail and make ice cream.
Childbirth was usually handled at a neighbor’s house with a midwife, if you were lucky. If you got sick, you were treated with ginger tea, honey, chicken soup or sulphur and molasses. Castor oil was used regularly as well. Wounds were cleaned with soap and disinfected with whiskey.
Mustard-based poultices were often used for a variety of ills. Turpentine, mustard and lard was one that was applied to the chest for pneumonia or a hacking cough.
Contact with the outside world was an occasional trip to town for supplies using a wagon and team. A battery-operated radio was used very sparingly in the evenings. A rechargeable car battery was used for power. School was a six-mile walk one way, and you brought your own lunch. One school teacher regularly put potatoes on the stove to bake and shared them with the kids. She was very well thought of by the kids and the parents.
These people were used to a limited amount of social interaction. They were used to no television, radio or outside entertainment. They were used to having only three or four books. A fiddler or guitar player for a picnic, or a dance, was a wonderful thing to be enjoyed. Church was a social occasion as well as religious.
The church ladies and their butter and egg money allowed most rural churches to be built and to prosper. The men were required to do the heavy work, but the ladies made it come together. The civilizing of the west sprang from these roots. Some of those ladies had spines of steel. They needed it.
That’s a partial story of the homestead years. People were very independent, stubborn and strong but still needed the community and access to the technology of the outside world for salt, sugar, flour, spices, chicken feed, cloth, kerosene for the lights and, of course, coffee.
There are many more things I could list. Could they have found an alternative if something was unavailable? Maybe. How would you get salt or nitrates in Montana without importing? Does anyone know how to make kerosene? Coffee would be valued like gold. Roasted grain or chicory just didn’t cut it.
I don’t want to discourage people trying to prepare, but rather to point out that generalized and practical knowledge along with a cooperative community is still needed for long term survival. Whatever shortcomings you may have, if you are part of a community, it is much more likely to be covered. The described community in this article was at least 20 to 30 miles across and included many farms and ranches as well as the town.
Who your neighbors are, what type of people they are, and your relationship to them is one of the more important things to consider.
Were there fights, disagreements and other unpleasantness? Absolutely. Some of it was handled by neighbors, a minister or the sheriff. Some bad feelings lasted a lifetime. There were some people that were really bad by any standard, and they were either the sheriff’s problem or they got sorted out by one of their prospective victims.
These homesteaders had a rough life but they felt they had a great life, and their way of life was shared by everyone they knew. They never went hungry, had great daylong picnics with the neighbors, and knew everyone personally within 20 miles. Every bit of pleasure or joy was treasured like a jewel since it was usually found in a sea of hard work. They worked hard, played hard and loved well.
In our cushy life, we have many more “things” and “conveniences” than they ever did, but we lack the connection they had with their environment and community.
The biggest concern for our future: What happens if an event such as a solar flare, EMP, or a plague takes our society farther back than the early 1900s by wiping out our technology base.
Consider the relatively bucolic scene just described and then add in some true post-apocalyptic hard cases. Some of the science fiction stories suddenly get much more realistic and scary. A comment out of a Star Trek scene comes to mind:
“In the fight between good and evil, good must be very, very good.”Consider what kind of supplies might not be available at any cost just because there is no longer a manufacturing base or because there is no supply chain. In the 1900s they had the railroads as a lifeline from the industrial east. How long would it take us to rebuild the tools for recovery to the early 1900 levels?
One of the greatest advantages we have is access to a huge amount of information about our world, how things work and everything in our lives. We need to be smart enough to learn/understand as much as possible and store references for all the rest. Some of us don’t sleep well at night, as we are well aware of how fragile our society and technological infrastructure is. Trying to live the homesteader’s life would be very painful for most of us. I would prefer not to. I hope and pray it doesn’t ever come to that.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2003
CONTACT: Public Citizen
Public Citizen Urges Congress to Make Amends in Energy Bill
The August electricity blackout, which shut down 21 nuclear reactors in the United States and Canada, was a spectacular demonstration of the heightened vulnerability of nuclear power plants in a deregulated electricity market, according to a report released by Public Citizen today.
Nonetheless, powerful members of Congress are disingenuously exploiting the blackout to promote more reliance on nuclear power and further electricity deregulation, says the report, The Big Blackout and Amnesia in Congress: Lawmakers Turn a Blind Eye to the Danger of Nuclear Power and the Failure of Deregulation.
"The intrinsic dangers and vulnerabilities of nuclear power are only exacerbated by power outages caused by the chaos of deregulated electricity markets," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. "Meanwhile, Congress is shamefully considering legislation that would actually promote nuclear power and further deregulation, making nuclear power even more dangerous to the public."
The report details the dilapidated state of the country’s 103 nuclear reactors and their heightened vulnerability during power outages, debunking nuclear proponents’ claims of reliability. Despite a detailed history of leaks, maintenance problems, weak security and overall deteriorating conditions of U.S. nuclear plants, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted operating license renewals to all 16 reactors that have submitted applications.
- When a plant loses offsite electrical supply, it automatically shuts down. It must then connect to a generator to keep coolant circulating and prevent the reactor core from overheating and causing a meltdown. All nuclear power plants maintain several diesel-powered backup generators on-site to be used in the event of power loss, but they don’t always automatically start when needed. In the past 12 months, there were 15 reported cases in which emergency diesel generators were declared inoperable.
- In case of an emergency, many sirens in place to alert officials and the public may not operate because of a lack of power. In reports submitted to the NRC after the blackout, both the Indian Point and Ginna nuclear stations (both in New York) noted that many of their emergency sirens malfunctioned. In the case of Indian Point, if the sirens in four surrounding counties — including the densely populated Westchester County, with nearly 1 million people — were to fail in the event of a meltdown, the region would be left in a tragic state of ignorance.
- Local emergency personnel, who would be risking their lives in the event of an accident or attack, are not confident that they would be able to handle the overwhelming problems that would come with a disaster. In May, 175 Indian Point-area first responders signed a petition to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NRC expressing their concerns that "even [their] best efforts may not be enough to adequately protect the public health and safety of the citizens of this region."
By next summer, the United States will have a 34 percent reserve margin for electricity generation capacity, according to Goldman Sachs & Co.’s managing director, Larry Kellerman.
"This glut of power plants weakens the Bush administration’s claims that the recent electricity blackouts give us a reason to build more nuclear power plants or at least keep the current, dilapidated nuclear fleet running," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. "The same is true for transmission capacity; at the time of the blackout, the grid was only at 75 percent capacity. We don’t need to relicense or build more nuclear plants."
The blackout demonstrated the current bottlenecks and strains on the nation’s electric grid. The transmission system was designed to accommodate local electricity markets, not the large, free-wheeling trading of electricity and movement of power over long distances under deregulation, in which energy companies seek to supply power to the highest bidder. Sending power over a much wider area decreases efficiency and burdens a transmission system designed to serve local utilities.
The House-Senate energy conference committee will meet shortly to consider energy legislation that piles on subsidies for nuclear power, including incentives for research and development and tax breaks for nuclear operators. Both bills authorize the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Power 2010 program to promote the construction of new nuclear reactors and the Generation IV program to develop new reactor designs. Further, both bills reauthorize the Price-Anderson Act to extend federal insurance protection to potential new reactors.
To read the report, click here.