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FEMA document admits solar flare could collapse U.S. power grid for years


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(NaturalNews) Tens of millions of Americans face years of loss of electrical power if major solar storms ramp up in the future, sending electromagnetic pulses that will destroy grids and infrastructure, according to an internal two-year-old Department of Homeland Security document.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, DHS' Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, said in a 2012 fact sheet detailing its potential responses to severe "space weather" that it is simply impossible to know the full extent of such events.

Space weather analysis paints bleak picture

"An analysis of the space weather impacts indicates that the greatest challenge will be to provide lifesaving and life-sustaining resources for large numbers of people that experience long-term power outage from damage to the U.S. electrical grid," the March 1, 2012, FEMA document says.

The document can be viewed here.

As reported by the WFB:

The FEMA fact sheet noted the findings of a 2010 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency that monitors sun storms, warning that an extreme solar storm could leave "130 million people without power for years," and destroy or damage more than 300 hard-to-replace electrical grid transformers.

Total effects 'are not well known'

Major solar storms are not common; two major solar events took place in 1859 and 1921, both years when electrical power was far less widespread than today.

The FEMA study noted that a future space weather event like the large magnetic storm of May 1921 would most likely cause blackouts in most states east of the Mississippi River, as well as most states in the Pacific Northwest. As Natural News has reported, the long-term loss of electrical power would also produce catastrophic loss of life; the wider - and longer - the blackouts, the worst that loss would be, experts believe [http://www.naturalnews.com].

But the FEMA document disputed such worst-case scenarios; the agency noted that in 2011 DHS experts said they were "not convinced" about the widespread destruction and loss of life laid out in an earlier study.

Nevertheless, DHS researchers and scientists warned in 2011 that the power grid was still vulnerable to penetration and damage from a large geomagnetic space weather event. Scientists said the extent of damage done to power transformers from such events "are not well known" and that further studies should be conducted.

"Based on an analysis of many space weather studies, there does not appear to be specific agreement among space weather and electric industry experts regarding space weather impacts on the U.S. electric grid," the document noted, adding that there is "general agreement among the experts that extreme geomagnetic storms could have significantly damaging impacts on the U.S. electric grid."

'Catastrophic'

The report defined space weather as conditions on the surface of the sun, in space, the earth's magnetic field and upper atmosphere that have an impact on space and ground technology systems, which can, in turn, "endanger human life on earth."

It further outlines a scenario for a major "coronal mass ejection" from the sun that U.S. satellites would first detect. The magnetic band from such an event would reach the earth between 24 and 72 hours later and could affect as many as 100 million people.

Some lawmakers have been concerned about EMP events - either from nuclear explosions or from space weather events - for years. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has been working to raise concern about the issue for years. He said during the first panel testimony that "catastrophic civilian casualties" could occur unless Congress acts.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill earlier this year, he said "every single facet of modern human life" would be "crippled" by such an event.

"Some would say it's low probability, but the damage that could be caused in the event of an EMP attack, both by the sun, a solar event, or a man-made attack, would be catastrophic," added Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, at the House Homeland Security Committee hearing in May. "We talk a lot about a nuclear bomb in Manhattan, and cybersecurity threat to the power grid in the Northeast, and all of these things would actually probably pale in comparison to the devastation that an EMP attack could perpetrate on Americans."

Sources:

http://freebeacon.com

http://www.abouthomelandsecurity.com/survivespaceweather.html

http://www.naturalnews.com

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