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The ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP)

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1 The ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP)
Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to EMP sources Prof. Melvin Lewis, MSEE Fairleigh Dickinson University Member, AOC, InfraGard, NMIA, IACSP, IEEE April 2012

2 Vulnerabilities A natural (or man-made) EMP could cause widespread disruption or disabling of the electronic control systems or distribution networks of power plants Fast EM pulses could also affect the high-tech control systems for dams, water and waste treatment facilities, refineries, natural gas distribution plants, and port facilities Many military systems and facilities are hardened, but not all Few industrial systems are hardened against a fast EMP Slower Geomagnetic induced current surges, produced by solar storms, could damage hundreds of high voltage distribution transformers simultaneously

3 The Threats Man-made events of interest to the energy industry could include attacks on the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems deliberate coordinated ground based pulsed EM radiation or high altitude nuclear detonation EMP Other threat modalities include cyber- and frontal assault (using military weapons) These last two concerns are not addressed in this presentation IMAGE FROM THE CRITIICAL NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURES REPORT



6 The ElectroMagnetic Pulse
A pulse of electromagnetic radiation will result from certain types of high energy events a nuclear explosion a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field The resulting rapidly changing electric and magnetic fields could couple with electrical and electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges resulting in blackouts HIGH ALTITUDE EXPLOSION CITY WITHOUT ELECTRICAL POWER

7 Two Vulnerabilities To Solar Storms: To intentional attack:
“At risk are the more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage* transmission lines that cross North America, supplying 1,800 utilities the power for TVs, lights, refrigerators and air conditioners in homes, and for the businesses, hospitals and police stations” (USA Today article) To intentional attack: "The electric grid's vulnerability to cyber and to other attacks is one of the single greatest threats to our national security" [the vulnerability is with the control systems] Quote attributed to Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass * Up to 750KV

8 Risk Assessment High Impact, Low Frequency
Solar flares, coronal mass ejections Insulator flashover and degradation or failure Transformers: internal arcing, core saturation, winding “wire” fusing causing failure (long time to replace, few spares on hand) Intentional ElectroMagnetic Interference, IEMI High Energy RF (HERF) Weapons Deployed via cruise missile or truck or hand-held Above the atmosphere nuclear detonation (via ballistic missile)

9 The Sources, what’s out there:
Coronal Mass Ejections (solar flares) Directed energy weapons Explosive-Driven Magnetic Flux Compression (MFC) Generators High Energy Radio Frequency (HERF) generators A microwave “gun” Disrupts digital control and protective circuits resulting in damage to hardware (think Stuxnet)

10 Directed Energy Weapons
Explosive Driven Magnetic Flux Compression (MFC) EMP Generators Under development by the US (and other) military for decades Most are “single shot” they must be repaired or replaced after use Not a major issue for a terrorist Portable, single person carry EMP

11 MFC Generators (Magnetic Flux Compression)
How they work Battery current charges a capacitor Capacitor energy is transferred into a helical inductor Coils of inductor are then progressively shorted out via an explosion-driven copper conductor Inductor current increases to mega-ampere levels (producing a very short pulse) Tens of tera-watts and tens of mega-Gauss developed during the short pulse duration One Gauss = 1E-4 Teslas

12 One implementation: A longitudinal magnetic field is produced inside a hollow metallic conductor, by discharging a bank of capacitors into the solenoid that surrounds the cylinder Detail: To ensure a rapid penetration of the field in the cylinder, there is a slit in the cylinder, which closes rapidly as the cylinder deforms

13 Description, cont’d The explosive charge surrounding the tube is detonated in a manner that ensures that the compression of the cylinder commences when the current through the solenoid is at its maximum The convergent cylindrical shock wave unleashed by the explosion produces a rapid contraction (greater than 1 km/s) of the central cylinder, compressing the magnetic field, and briefly creating a very high current in the inductor The first experiments were able to attain magnetic fields of millions of Gauss A strong refrigerator magnet produces 100 Gauss The earth’s magnetic field is 0.5 Gauss. The Gauss is the cgs unit of the magnetic flux density, B.


15 What’s Out There? Instructions for making EMP generators are on the internet YouTube demonstrations Step by step printed guidelines with diagrams Older military documents (now declassified) etc. Purchasable EMP generators This is not an explosive driven device

16 Catalog Items

17 Plans for Sale on the Internet

18 Countermeasures ? Shielding of sensitive electronics
Via metal enclosures with conducting gaskets Shielding of control cables and harnesses Filter-pin connectors Expanding the defense perimeter The U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories (CERL) has been experimenting with low-cost electromagnetic shielding designs (see next slide)

19 CERL Initiatives: New Materials and Techniques
Conductive polymers and advanced coatings for use on shield components such as amorphous metals and graphites Consideration is also being given to making concrete electrically conductive Use of Inherent Shielding of Standard Construction Materials: Examples include aluminum-foil-backed gypsum board, aluminum-foil-backed insulating sheathing, metallic-clad siding, copper foils (normally used for vapor barriers), wire meshes, and sheet metal roofing See their website for other initiatives

20 Relevance To the AOC Community
What can the EW / ECM community do? Alert authorities regarding availability of dual use items (as the chemical industry does with bomb pre-cursors, etc.) High performance capacitors, high DC current switches, highly directional antennas, etc. Use our familiarity with shielding, pulse detection, electromagnetics, and hardened semiconductors to develop fast acting circuit-self-protection products that could be purchased to protect DoD and industry equipment Develop truck-borne and man-portable HERF and EMP weaponry that could defeat the enemy’s defenses

21 To Summarize: Modern control systems for power generating stations, water treatment plants, oil refineries, dams, etc. are vulnerable to attack via EMP EMP devices and plans are available on the internet Military engineers have been developing EMP generators for decades (US and other countries) Shielding and other measures can reduce the susceptibility of the control systems to EMP’s Suggestion: Read the “Critical National Infrastructures Report”, it’s on the internet

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