EMP from a Nuclear Blast

Yesterday I attended a radio class that covered nuclear related EMP (electromagnetic pulse) and  EMPsun caused CME (coronal mass ejection).  The majority of the information from the class has been covered in some of my prior posts.  Look in the categories section on the right side of this page and open the category EMP. This will give you some good insight to the problem.

However in the class, I learned a few new tricks and I will be building some new faraday cages in the next few weeks and posting pictures of them on the blog.  The bottom line is that if your electronics are not in a cage, they may be toast.

This includes anything with a chip in it, including LED bulbs.  I had never really thought of flashlights being a problem before.  This may include night vision equipment.

CME is nowhere near the problem of EMP from a nuclear blast.  With CME there would be up to 92 hours of warning.  With EMP from a nuclear blast, the warning would be just a few minutes to none.  A correctly placed 1.4-megaton nuclear explosion high above the central USA would destroy most of the power grid.  We would be back in the 1800’s overnight, but without their technology.

This is a confusing subject and every expert I talk to has a slightly different take on it.  Short of making your whole house and garage a faraday cage, I think you have to prioritize your electronics and save the most important.


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3 Responses to EMP from a Nuclear Blast

  1. Art says:

    Highly recommend the book “One Second After” although fictional it is a great account of what could happen in an EMP event.

    Looking forward to your articles on faraday cages. Could you include what you should put between the electronics and the metal box? I have read about putting electronics in ammo cans but what material should be between the box and the electronic item? Thanks for the article.

  2. Tom Martin says:

    Use a non-conductive material to isolate the device from the faraday cage. The pulse causes current to flow across conductive materials. Internal resistance develops voltage. The voltage is what burns out micro circuits. Imagine lightening hitting a power pole. A 30 foot pole with a grounding wire. The voltage at the point of contact is 300,000 volts, a typical shot. The voltage at ground level will be close to zero. If one could monitor the voltage on the way down, the voltage acoss one foot of ground wire would measure 10,000 volts! Any semi conductor linked across that kind of voltage is toast. The faraday cage allows the current and voltage to flow across the surface of the cage and flow harmlessly to gound. The voltage across the surface is a function of the size of the cage. The bigger the cage, the higher the voltage. Therefore, as long as the devices inside the cage do not touch the cage electrically, they will not be subjected to the voltage surge. The voltage shouldn’t be in the thousands, but even a hundred volts can be bad ju-ju for micro circuits. By maintaining electrical isolation, your devices should be fine.

  3. AmandaK says:

    This is a great post; people truly do need to get prepared for WHEN this happens. I have been going to a radio show online called EMPactRadio. They have new shows every Wednesday at noon Eastern Time. It’s always really interesting and informative to listen to. This week a man named Gale Nordling is going to be on their show. He is the President and CEO Emprimus. It should be really great to listen to. Here’s the link if you guys want to check it out: http://empactradio.org/archives/episode-94-gale-nordling/

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