Government Warning: UK At Risk Of EMP Attacks From Space
The Commons Defense committee has announced that the UK could be prone to high altitude EMP (electro magnetic pulse) attacks from space by a rogue state or by terrorists. According to the committee if a nuclear device was set off up to 500 miles above the Earth's surface it would have a 'devastating' effect on the UK's power supplies, telecommunications and other essential systems. According to the committee countries such as Iran, who are resisting pressure to end their nuclear program, could easily acquire the technology required in order to carry out such an attack.
Although an official EMP commission in the United States found that rogue states such as Iran and North Korea were well aware of the vulnerability, giving them the potential to carry out the attack, rather worringly the UK MoD's (Ministry of Defense) attitude towards such potential security risks were criticized by the committee who claimed they seemed "complacent" on the issue and were "unwilling to take these threats seriously" and said that work on hardening the infrastructure to defend against EMP attacks is "a matter of urgency".
Although the UK government actually acknowledged that such an attack could be extremely severe, they claimed that the likelihood of such an attack being committed as being "low". It has been reported that Iranians in particular have already carried out tests which seemed to simulate the effects of a nuclear EMP strike. The American government concluded that such an attack would cause the "virtually inevitable" widespread collapse of the electrical power system.
The American government also warned that such destruction could also be caused by natural space weather, giving the 1859 Carrington event as an example. In 1859 solar flares caused telegraph wires to short out and caused widespread fires. The event caused operators to suffer electric shocks and paper to set fire.
Surprisingly, after all the denial regarding the 2012 conspiracy theories, the committee warned that the risk of such an event occurring over the next five years is "moderate to high". According to the committee the National Grid has estimated that if an event as extreme as the Carrington event was to occur again there is a 91% chance that much of the UK could be left without power for as much as two months or more whilst essential satellite systems could also be damaged in the process.
The Defense Committee recommended that ministers should consider the practibility and price of establishing some kind of resilience against a widespread loss of transformers, as could be caused by events such as the Carrington event.