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An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is

[t]he electromagnetic radiation from a strong electronic pulse, most commonly caused by a nuclear explosion that may couple with electrical or electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.[1]
1 or more pulses of electromagnetic energy emitted by a device capable of disabling or disrupting operation of, or destroying, electronic devices or communications networks, including hardware, software, and data, by means of such a pulse.[2]

Impact on power grid[]

"Electromagnetic risks caused by a man-made electromagnetic pulse (EMP) or a naturally occurring solar weather event could have a significant impact on the nation's electric grid as well as other infrastructure sectors that depend on electricity, such as communications. The impact of these events could lead to power outages over broad geographic areas for extended durations."[3]

"EMPs can cause voltage and current surges which can severely damage electrical equipment and systems. A high-altitude nuclear explosion could cause an EMP which could severely impair an electric power system not shielded from the effects of an EMP."[4]

Impact on Telecommunications[]

"Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks present a less significant direct threat to telecommunications than it does to the National Power grid, but would nevertheless disrupt or damage a functionally significant fraction of the electronic circuits in the Nation's telecommunications systems in the region exposed to EMP (which could include most of the United States). EMP attacks could damage a functionally significant portion of the Electric Power Grid, resulting in prolonged power- and synergistic system-outages."[5]


See also[]