In 1962 the United States exploded a 1.4 megaton H-Bomb in space Scientist James van Allen was asked to prove the test was safe but given just weeks to do it. President Kennedy went on to use Van Allen’s name to prove the tests were not dangerous. The bomb created a radiation storm around the planet that took ten years to dissipate, blew out orbiting satellites and plunged parts of Oahu into darkness. They were fortunate it wasn’t far worse. Van Allen kept his own council until the test was complete but then exploded labeling it shoddy and unsafe.Electromagnetic radiation in the radio-frequency portion of the spectrum (EMP) caused brief outages of a street lighting system in Oahu and of several input stages of electronic equipment, though during the Starfish event only.
William Forschen, in his novel “The Minute After,” helps us to imagine what America would be like after a major EMP event. Survivalists have even invented a new acronym to describe it: TEOTWAWKI – The End of the World As We Know It.
No cell phones, no personal or business computers. No gas stations, no natural gas or water service. Cold storage, down; food processing plants, off-line. No trucking, no railroads, no airplanes, no ATMs, no inter-bank transfers. Americans would revert to eating whatever food they could hunt, fish or forage within walking distance of their homes. City-dwellers would flee en masse, or face starvation.
Some experts point to the partial meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power reactors in Japan after a tsunami took down the power grid in March as an example of what could happen here.
Even though the Japanese had help from the US and others that enabled them to bring on line backup generators, spent fuel rods in the cooling ponds of several reactors melted down, narrowly averting a major nuclear disaster. Without that outside help, a collapse of cooling power at US nuclear power plants could cause stored nuclear fuel rods sitting in cooling ponds to melt down, irradiating vast swathes of the country, Dr. Cynthia Ayers, a former National Security Agency analyst, told me recently.
Such an event is so catastrophic in nature you would think the federal and state governments had planned for how to handle it long ago. Think again.
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