PTI tests system to protect electronics from electromagnetic pulse
The Washington-based Public Technology Institute (PTI) and Cumberland, Md.-based Instant Access Networks (IAN), along with Frostburg, Md., State University, are working on a pilot program to address the threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) interruption of electric power. EMP is a wave of energy that can cause certain electrical equipment to short out and become inoperable.
While there are natural causes of EMP interference, such as solar flares, several federal studies show a terrorist attack in which a nuclear device is detonated at high altitude could create an EMP that could shut down power systems regionally or nationwide. “We’re working on some ideas with some engineers to harden facilities in local governments in case an EMP attack occurs,” says Ronda Mosley, PTI’s senior director for Research Programs.
Throughout the summer, IAN and PTI are inviting local governments to participate in a pilot program to identify mission-critical applications and the power and cooling requirements of the equipment used in those applications. Information from the study will be used to make a prototype room that would be shielded against EMP and in which sensitive equipment, such computers and radios, could be stored. The room will be loaded onto a trailer and tested at a military site, Mosley says.