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Letters: U.S. not prepared to defend against major attack on power grid

in Opinion

Dear Editor,

I read, recently, about the U.S. power grid and how susceptible it is to attack. I also read about the consequences of a prolonged blackout that could encompass the entire U.S.A. As it turns out, the U.S. power grid is VERY susceptible to attack, and it would be devastating. If the U.S. were impacted by a large EMP, electro-magnetic pulse, from a large nuclear weapon detonated a hundred miles above the U.S., or from a CME, coronal-mass ejection, from the sun, our entire power grid would shut down.

Part of our power grid are very large transformers that step up the voltage to make long-distance transmission possible. These large transformers are huge and take at least 18 months to hand build. They are only made in two countries, Germany and South Korea. A large EMP would fry these huge transformers, and there isn’t a spare waiting on a shelf. We are talking about at least 18 months to replace one of these things. What if 100 of them fried from an EMP? Can you imagine the chaos that would cause?

An EMP isn’t the only threat, we are also susceptible to attack from computer hackers. A smart hacker could do real damage to our power grid and could plunge us into darkness for a long time. Just think of how dependent we are on electricity. If we were attacked, we’re talking about no lights, no water, no phones, no gas, no ATMs, no refrigeration, and this would last for over a year. Some experts say that up to 90 percent of the U.S. population would die from a prolonged nationwide power outage. It would be the biggest disaster in history.

The bottom line is this, the U.S. is not prepared to defend against a major attack on the power grid. Much of our power grid is old and that makes it even more susceptible to failure from EMP and more hackable than newer equipment. Our elected leaders all know about the weakness in the power grid, yet it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In my opinion, this is our greatest weakness. And if I know this, our enemies know this as well. Let’s just hope this weakness doesn’t lead to our destruction.

Gary Wadzinski, Weston

Editor’s note: The views of our readers are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot and Review. To submit a letter, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to P.O. Box 532, Wausau, Wis., 54402-0532.

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