(NaturalNews) An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP for short, is a short burst of electromagnetic energy, sometimes called a "transient electromagnetic disturbance." An EMP event can occur naturally, such as from a powerful lightning strike.
But what makes EMPs so potentially dangerous to life on Earth is the unnatural occurrence of an EMP event, like that which is commonly associated with the detonation of a nuclear device.
There are some common misconceptions about so-called "EMP weapons," and the development of them by various great powers, including the United States. But there are no misunderstandings about the devastating effects that EMP bursts would have on modern technology. As the Heritage Foundation has noted in congressional testimony, EMP blasts spread out over the skies of America would essentially send the country back to the 19th century technologically, because EMP events would "decimate America's electrical and technological infrastructure."
Yet, few lawmakers and policymakers seem to take the threat seriously, experts have complained. Worse, an underreported story that was covered by Natural News and a few other outlets indicates that terrorists may be targeting our electric grid because, even if it is not destroyed by an EMP weapon, there are most definitely weak points that some analysts say could produce the same results as an airborne nuclear explosion [http://www.npr.org].
Targeting the power grid
In April 2013, in what authorities describe as a "military-style assault," attackers cut phone lines leading to a major power substation near San Jose, Calif. Then -- about 25 minutes later -- snipers began firing on it, knocking out 17 gigantic transformers that supplied power to Silicon Valley.
"To avoid a blackout, electric-grid officials rerouted power around the site and asked power plants in Silicon Valley to produce more electricity. But it took utility workers 27 days to make repairs and bring the substation back to life," The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported in February.
Since then, the story was picked up by TheBlaze, which produced a special report regarding the vulnerability of the American power grid.
The report began, noting that "there are three key networks" that deliver power throughout the United States: the Western, Eastern and Texas grids. They are interconnected by more than 160,000 electric power transmission lines and 55,000 electric substations.
"Perhaps one of the worst parts about it," says Peter Pry, a congressional homeland security advisor, "is that you really only need to take out one of the grids to cause a national catastrophy."
Former congressional advisor Elizabeth Kreft noted that where power is actually created -- at the power plants -- are transformers that increase electric voltage "so that it can actually travel a long distance," she says in the video.
"And then there's a transformer that steps down that voltage so it can actually be sent to your house," she said.
Pry said that Extra High Voltage (EHV) transformers connecting the grids and sub-systems "are actually the foundation of our modern society." He added they are akin to what aqueducts and roads were to the Roman Empire. "Our society can't operate without" them, he said.
'Months to build'
That said, the report noted, EHV transformers -- as important as they are to the function of American society -- are one of the most unprotected of national infrastructure assets.
Additionally, Pry said, EHVs "are one of the most technologically difficult things to manufacture." Each EHV plays a "unique role" in the grid, because each one is "custom-made" for the respective grids they power. "They are hand-built," he said.
He said that, while the U.S. used to build EHVs, "we exported the technology for the electric grid to the world." Now, he admits, the U.S. must import them, which is another vulnerability of the system, because they each take 18 months to build.
There are only two countries that build them for export, and both are U.S. allies -- South Korea and Germany.
In response to the San Jose attack, FERC -- the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- conducted a classified study in 2013, which, as WSJ reported, revealed alarming results.
See the remainder of TheBlaze's video report here.