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Showing posts with label power grid. Show all posts
Showing posts with label power grid. Show all posts

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Power in the Collapse or Collapse Because of Lack of Power

Two recent pieces of information came out to prompt me to write about each Prepared Family to have a plan on how power sources for their survival during a collapse. And like the title above suggests, if the U.S. Grid is shut down, the collapse will follow.

First, we have the Federal Government warning about power outages. This in and of itself would not raise too many concerns, but in the words of the Government " Be prepared for power outages as we rely on electricity and other utilities for survival, so when we lose power it’s a major problem. A power outage compounds the impacts of a natural disaster and increases anxiety. Having a way to communicate with family, friends, and coworkers is imperative.

The Government goes on to suggest these tips:

Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out and ensure you have extra compatible batteries for any device that can run on battery power (i.e., cell phones, portable phones, medical or assistive devices, radios). Consider purchasing hand-crank and solar-powered chargers.

Keep your car gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. You’ll also have a good method for charging devices in an emergency or, if necessary, moving to a location with power.

Never use a generator, gasoline-powered equipment and tools, grill, camp stove, or charcoal burning device inside or in any partially enclosed area, including a basement or garage.

Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors or electric detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home and outside of bedrooms to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and potentially deadly gas. Plan to always keep a generator outdoors.

And finally, a friendly word from the Government about communications, which would be sorely affected by a collapse of the Grid,......Don't wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.

During an emergency, communication is critical. We want to know that our family is safe and taken care of. We need to let our family, friends, and coworkers know we’re okay, and be ready to help our fellow citizens by fulfilling the DHS mission. Having a family emergency communication plan with key phone numbers and other information readily available is important.

And then from USA Today, a report that "Attackers successfully compromised U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014", from a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY finds.

Cyber attackers successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, according to a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY.

Incident reports submitted by federal officials and contractors since late 2010 to the Energy Department's Joint Cyber security Coordination Center shows a near-consistent barrage of attempts to breach the security of critical information systems that contain sensitive data about the nation's power grid, nuclear weapons stockpile and energy labs.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, show DOE components reported a total of 1,131 cyber attacks over a 48-month period ending in October 2014. Of those attempted cyber intrusions, 159 were successful.

"The potential for an adversary to disrupt, shut down (power systems), or worse … is real here," said Scott White, Professor of Homeland Security and Security Management and Director of the Computing Security and Technology program at Drexel University. "It's absolutely real."

Energy Department officials would not say whether any sensitive data related to the operation and security of the nation's power grid or nuclear weapons stockpile was accessed or stolen in any of the attacks, or whether foreign governments are believed to have been involved.

"DOE does not comment on ongoing investigations or possible attributions of malicious activity," Energy Department spokesman Andrew Gumbiner said in a statement.

In all cases of malicious cyber security activity, Gumbiner said the Energy Department "seeks to identify indicators of compromise and other cyber security relevant information, which it then shares broadly among all DOE labs, plants, and sites as well as within the entire federal government."

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Energy Department responsible for managing and securing the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, experienced 19 successful attacks during the four-year period, records show.

While information on the specific nature of the attacks was redacted from the records prior to being released, numerous Energy Department cyber security vulnerabilities have been identified in recent years by the department's Office of Inspector General, an independent watchdog agency.

After a cyber attack in 2013 resulted in unauthorized access to personally identifying information for more than 104,000 Energy Department employees and contractors, auditors noted "unclear lines of responsibility" and "lack of awareness by responsible officials." In an audit report released in October of last year, the Inspector General found 41 Energy Department servers and 14 workstations "were configured with default or easily guessed passwords."

Urban Man's comments: What this all means is that the prepared survivor must plan for life without the electrical grid. Best case is a completely solar powered home backed up by a fuel generator and wind mills generating electrical power, but alas, only the richest can afford this. 

For the economy prepper this means have battery powered devices with common batteries and a goodly amount of rechargeable batteries - they make them in almost all sizes now. I have six sets of re-chargers that I can power from as 12 volt source (vehicle battery or cigarette plug adapter) and from folding solar panels. 

I have a several solar kits still in the box and keeping them that way in case I have to bug out. my next big purchase will be a power source 1800 Solar Generating unit, which like the name suggest, is capable of generating 1800 watts of power at peak and is re-charged through a 100 watt solar mobile panel. Just get prepared people!

Urban Man

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The EMP Issue

It's no surprise to reader of that I am a big fan of the International Forecaster and especially Bob Rinear. This article reminds us of the potential Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat. This was brought home to me two days ago after a hellacious thunder storm left us without power and even the cellular system was messed up. An EMP event would make this basically permanent. So hopefully, part of your survival plan address a no warning and immediate grid outage. What are you doing to do?

The EMP Issue, by Bob Rinear, The International Forecaster, Wednesday 5 August 2015

On Sunday I wrote a piece called “Fear Porn”, and it was the first of two articles I wanted to write for a long time, but “things” got in the way. The first article was about the concept of our entire lives now revolving around “the Internet”, and yet the net isn’t as stable as you might think. As I pointed out, your life would be massively disrupted if indeed a terrorist (foreign or domestic) did a massive hack which brought down the routers and pointers of the nets infrastructure.

Not because you couldn’t look at photo’s of your “BFF” showing you his or her breakfast, not  because you couldn’t tweet about some terribly unimportant topic…but because we are now at a point where no net…means no transactions. No credit cards, no ATM’s, no phones, no hotel reservations, no “a lot of things”. Given enough time, a nationwide Internet shut down, could very well cause social unrest, deaths, food supply problems, you name it. But the fact is, that’s just the warm up for the real issue. What if our power grid goes down?

I laid out the nightmares we saw during the NYC blackout of 1977 and the Ohio/Northeast blackout of 2004. Robberies, fires, arson, break in’s, looting, shootings, you name it. Ugly stuff, and that was just 1 and 2 day outages. What if something took the grid down for months?

Over the years I’ve looked at different situations wherein the “grid” as we call it (electrical generation and distribution) could be compromised on a wide scale. There’s several things that come to mind, such as network hacking. But the two that get the big attention are Solar burst of energy, and EMP’s. So what’s the real deal here? Can these things do what we’ve been told or not? Let’s look…

EMP stands for Electro-magnetic Pulse. An EMP is a short burst of electromagnetic energy.

Such a pulse may occur in the form of a radiated electric or magnetic field or conducted electric current depending on the source, and may be natural or man-made. Okay, so what’s the big deal?

Well, if the EMP is big enough, it will follow power lines, long cables, grounding straps, and burn up things with a power surge. Anything not “hardened’ against a massive short term burst, simply burns out. Be it computers, TV, phones, hospital equipment, power generators, high voltage lines, etc. Bad stuff.

We have been aware of the “natural” EMP’s that come from the Sun ( and even severe lightening storms) because the sun caused such a “burst” of electro-magnetism in 1859 that telegraph operators were singed around the country as sparks lit up their transmission lines.

Aurorae were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by theaurora's light. It was named the Carrington Event.

It was (and still is) the largest recorded geomagnetic storm. If something of that magnitude were to hit today, with the incredible amount of electronics we use each and every day, it would fry tens of millions of devices and plunge us into the dark for MONTHS. In fact, in Ontario Canada on March 13th 1989 a solar storm impacted their area. At 2 am on the 13th the Ontario grid went dark, plunging millions of folks into the dark. No power, no phones, no water pumping (electrical pumps) No Natural gas (electrical pumps) etc.

They found the fried equipment and things were up and running in about 12 hours. But think about that for a second. A solar “Coronal mass ejection” knocked out the power to millions. Yet it was “tiny” compared to the Carrinton event. So problem one with EMP’s is that they can indeed be natural, and another like the 1859 version would indeed take down huge parts of our entire countries power grid.

But we found out in 1962 just how dangerous Man made EMP’s could be. During that year, the US Government decided to test a high altitude nuclear blast. The test was named starfish and took place about a thousand miles from Hawaii on a deserted island. When the bomb went off some 250 miles up in the atmosphere, something quite strange happened. Electrical components on the Islands of Hawaii were blowing up. To quote one of the researchers….

The effects were bizarre and almost entirely unanticipated. One effect was an electromagnetic pulse, but nobody knew it was going to be anywhere nearly as large it proved to be. They had all this data and they didn’t understand very much of it, including the EMPs that had been observed and the effects produced…all kinds of electrical disturbances were seen over 1000 kilometers away in Oahu.

Since then we’ve learned that a large nuclear device that gets detonated in the upper atmosphere could easily wipe out the electrical grid, and darned near anything connected to it. Which instantly brought up the question of its use as a military weapon. In fact there’s no question at all as to whether the US and Russia have experimented with EMP as a weapon and we’re also worried about North Korea ( and some say Iran) Here’s why…

Let’s suppose some rogue nation takes an old scud missile and tips it with a nuclear bomb. They get the thing near our coast on a container ship or what have you and fire it. The next thing you know an entire area of the nation sees its grid go down, and the resulting surges and brownout’s spread through the network. It is not inconceivable that the whole country could go dark. Here is the statement from the 2008 committee on researching EMP attacks…

A single EMP attack may seriously degrade or shut down a large part of the electric power grid in the geographic area of EMP exposure effective instantaneously. There is also the possibility of functional collapse of grids beyond the exposed one, as electrical effects propagate from one region to another…Should significant parts of the electric power infrastructure be lost for any substantial period of time, the Commission believes that the consequences are likely to be catastrophic, and many people may ultimately die for lack of the basic elements necessary to sustain life in dense urban and suburban communities.

Now, depending on whom you wish to listen to, the effects of a well coordinated EMP attack on the US could last for 18 months of “dark” (no electricity) and MILLIONS dead. I could EASILY see that.

As you probably know, my biggest “big picture” scare is that we are 100% reliant on the electrical grid for EVERYTHING. We just expect it to be there because it’s “always there”. Yet what if it wasn’t? Then yes, there would be mass starvation, mass riots, bands of roaming hungry thieves. No question.

I try and keep the “wacko stuff” and the real Fear Porn out of the letters. I’m not a “shock jock” like Howard Stern who gets his listeners from being outrageous. But in this instance, I am not just trying to scare the hell out of you all, I’m trying to expose something that seems to be all-too real. Consider this…

As late as the 1940’s once you got out of town, just about every rural household had a couple chickens in the yard for fresh eggs. They usually had a hand driven well pump and a few minutes of pumping that handle would bring good clean water up from the depths. They probably had a nice veggie garden, and “mom” probably knew how to can their produce for use in the winter months.

Dad and the boys most definitely had a few small game rifles, and knew how to hunt rabbit, squirrel, and deer. They generally had a coal or wood furnace, and knew how to cook over wood instead of electricity or Natgas. Oil lamps and candles made at home were frequent. In a lot of homes in rural America 1940 if the power went down, no one noticed for half the day.

Today that very situation would be called a “prepper family”. You’d be looked upon as “one of them people”. But the fact is that for about 80% of our citizens, they have NONE of those skills or resources. A chicken coop in modern America? Horror the thought! People get run out of Home owner associations for parking a vehicle in their driveway let alone a chicken coop. A personal water well on your own property? Not today, it’s all about “city water”. Grabbing a .22 and shooting a squirrel for dinner? Perish the thought! The fact is that the typical American is absolutely and totally dependent on the “grid” for survival.

So if you ask me - Bob, what’s your two biggest fears right now? My answer would be a take down of the Electrical Grid first, and a take down of the Internet second. Now do we have any “proof” that either one is coming? Nope, not really. But sometimes you see things that make you think about it.

For example, the Military is moving a lot of its command nodes back into the depths of Cheyenne mountain, a fortified bunker complex deep beneath the granite rocks. Why? Could they be anticipating something like an EMP attack and want to make sure their command and control center is “hardened” against suck a thing? Could be.

I’d like to say I only have two fears about the big picture, but that wouldn’t be truthful. Others on my list are a global monetary reset which I totally believe is coming. A devaluation of our currency which I think is coming. I think were going to get rocked a bit over that when it happens, and frankly it has to happen. Even the wicked Central bankers know that our present system isn’t working.

So “yeah” there’s things that get my attention.

No one wants to live in fear, and I don’t either. But there’s some things that we have very little control over, that have a lot of control over our lives. Power, Internet and global finances come to mind. All 3 of them have the ability to rock our world.

Urban Man