Electronic infrastructure at risk from EMP threat - report

Electronic infrastructure at risk from EMP threat - report

Electro-Magnetic pulses occur when nuclear weapons are exploded at altitude

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The government needs to create a better plan for reacting to the threat of a major electro-magnetic pulse event, which could knock out much of the country’s critical electronic infrastructure, according to a report. 

The Defence Committee published a report today, entitled “Developing Threats: Electro-Magnetic Pulses (EMP)”, that highlights how a nuclear weapon exploded at altitude could be devastating for many of the UK’s industries, including the financial markets. 

“We are concerned that the Government does not regard EMP from a nuclear blast as currently being a high risk and so we urge that more vigorous action should be taken to prepare for such an attack,” said the Committee. 

A single nuclear weapon detonated between 25 – 500 miles above Earth could create an EMP that could cause damage to technology over a wide geographical area. 

Much of the UK’s electrical infrastructure could be impacted, including micro-electronic systems, electronics based control systems, sensor, communication systems, protective systems and computers. 

The report does highlight that the threat of an EMP is currently low, but as the risk to critical infrastructure is so high, the Committee has urged that the government does not become “complacent” and that work to harden UK infrastructure begins now. 


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