The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) represents itself as independent, but is funded by the electric power industry. EPRI is actually a lobby producing often dubious "research" intended to promote the political and financial interests of electric utilities.
EPRI’s latest report dismissing the threat from nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack "High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse and the Bulk Power System" repackages false arguments EPRI and other industry lobbies (the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and Edison Electric Institute, for example) have been making for years.
It is a last-ditch effort to derail President Trump’s "Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses" (March 26, 2019) that would fast-track protecting the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures from EMP threats.
EPRI’s report is not a scientifically legitimate alternative view on EMP, is authored by non-experts who cook the books on EMP, and should be accorded no more credibility than the "independent laboratory analyses" funded by 1950s cigarette manufacturers falsely claiming no causal link between smoking and lung cancer.
EPRI implies their report is endorsed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and its national laboratories. But DOE told the Congressional EMP Commission, while individuals within DOE have cooperated with EPRI — DOE does not endorse EPRI’s EMP Reports.
EPRI is speaking for itself, not for DOE and its labs.
EPRI's preposterous bottom-line: Nuclear EMP attack will be no more consequential than other localized or regional blackouts with which utilities have experience — contradicting legitimate EMP studies by real experts including the Congressional EMP Commission, the U.S. Air Force Electromagnetic Defense Task Force, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Academy of Sciences, and every other major study by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Government over more than 50 years.
Contrary to EPRI, the EMP Commission warns a nuclear EMP attack would be an unprecedented catastrophe, potentially causing protracted nationwide blackout, killing millions. For the unclassified EMP Commission Reports see www.firstempcommission.org
EPRI's claim an E1 EMP field of 25,000 volts/meter will cause only minor damage is ridiculous, grossly underestimating the threat. Testing proves electronic systems can be damaged by field strengths below 1,000 volts/meter.
This is also common sense. In our electronic civilization, almost everything (including SCADAS vital to electric grid operations) operate on 120 volts or less.
EPRI implies damage inflicted on 15% of electric grid systems (transformers, SCADAS, generators, relays etc.) constitutes minor damage, and would be no more consequential than localized or regional blackouts with which the electric power industry has experience.
Yet the 10 greatest blackouts in world history started from single-point failures constituting far less than 1% of the electric grid. The Great Northeast Blackout of 2003 that put 50 million Americans in the dark, blacking-out New York City, was caused by single-point failure comprising less than 0.001% of the Ohio grid.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a classified U.S. FERC study concludes if just 9 of the 2,000 EHV transformers in the U.S. were damaged (0.0045% of all EHV transformers) a nationwide blackout would result, lasting 18 months.
EPRI is essentially claiming an EMP event inflicting damage over 15,000 times more severe than the ten greatest blackouts in world history would be no big deal, within the experience of the electric power industry and routinely manageable — untrue and dangerously irresponsible.
EPRI asserts no EHV transformers would be damaged by E3 EMP.
Yet geomagnetic storms, like the 1989 Hydro-Quebec Storm, have melted EHV transformers designed to carry 750,000 volts, in just 90 seconds. These natural EMP storms are far weaker than those generated by a nuclear EMP attack.
EPRI's recommended protection Standard for Geo-Magnetic Disturbance (GMD), equivalent to E3 EMP 8 volts/kilometer, is grossly inadequate for the nuclear EMP threat, which should be 85 volts/kilometer.
It is also inadequate for a natural EMP geomagnetic super-storm like the Carrington Event.
The EPRI GMD/EMP Standard is like preparing New Orleans for only a category one hurricane, when you know a category five will happen someday.
EPRI’s assertion that GMD protection for natural EMP from solar storms also protects against nuclear EMP attack is false, because nuclear EMP field strengths are much higher, and the E1 EMP component much more damaging than misrepresented by EPRI.
EPRI uses garbage-in, garbage-out computer modeling to make its bogus story.
You can prove anything with computer models.
EPRI is contradicted by over 50 years of EMP testing.
Why has the Department of Defense spent billions hardening U.S. C3I and military forces against EMP, including the NORAD Alternate Command Post inside Cheyenne Mountain?
How come non-nuclear EMP weapons, which generate much weaker fields than a nuclear EMP attack, can crash airplanes, blow-up natural gas pipelines, stop cars, damage SCADAS etc.?
Russia, China, North Korea and Iran (some of these are EPRI members) all know nuclear EMP attack would have catastrophic consequences, collapsing the U.S. electric grid and other critical infrastructures, offering the key to victory in war.
EPRI and electric utilities need to get out of the way, or better yet help support President Trump’s plan to protect our nation from the existential threat that is EMP.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served on the Congressional EMP Commission as chief of staff, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of "Blackout Wars." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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