Amid focused attention on cybersecurity for T&D networks and power plants, one critical system is often overlooked: land-based radios. During an emergency, field crews rely on their ability to...
The Hazards of ElectroMagnetic Terrorism
And why North American power plants should take note.
Committee (NSTAC). At the heart of this vulnerability is the capability for remote access to control and protection equipment at generation facilities and transmission and distribution utilities. 4 Remote access to protective equipment historically has been limited to proprietary systems and dedicated network connections. Now, however, there is an increased use of public telephone services, protocols, and network facilities, concurrent with a growing, more sophisticated, worldwide population of computer users and computer hackers.
Is there a solution for this situation? Yes, but only if we:
- Completely replace all electric wires connected to microprocessor relays, including current and voltage circuits, with non-conductive fiber-optical wires;
- Use opto-electronic CT and VT, instead of traditional instrument transformers;
- Provide full galvanic separation from the power electric network by using a power supply of microprocessor relays to carry through the unit "motor-generator";
- Place microprocessor-based relays in a completely closed metal case made with a special technology used for ultrahigh frequencies in which there are no other kinds of the electric equipment.
This is the price we must pay for progress in the field of relay protection.
1. “Electromagnetic Terrorism—What Are the Risks? What Can Be Done?” Internationl Product Compliance Magazine , 1997
2. "The New Cold War: Defending Against Criminal EMI," Compliance Magazine , 2001, 5.
3. Internet News Portal "ISRAlandTM" ( http://www.isra.com/), 2004.
4. "Electric Power Grid Vulnerability to Natural and Intentional Geomagnetic Distrubances." Processing of 16th International Zurich Symosium on Electromagnetic Compatibilities, February 4-18, 2005, Zurich.
Physicist Arthur H. Compton proposed the theory behind the E-bomb in 1925. Compton demonstrated that firing a stream of highly energetic photons into atoms that have a low atomic number causes them to eject a stream of electrons. Physics students know this phenomenon as the Compton Effect. It became a key tool in unlocking the secrets of the atom.
Ironically, this nuclear research led to an unexpected demonstration of the power of the Compton Effect, and spawned a new type of weapon. In 1958, nuclear weapons designers ignited hydrogen bombs high over the Pacific Ocean. The detonations created bursts of gamma rays that, upon striking the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere, released a tsunami of electrons that spread for hundreds of miles. Street lights were blown out in Hawaii and radio navigation was disrupted for 18 hours as far away as Australia. The United States set out to learn how to "harden" electronics against this electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and develop EMP weapons.
Now, intensive investigations in the electromagnetic weapons field are being carried out in Russia, the United States, England, Germany, and China. In the United States such research is carried out by the biggest companies of the military-industrial establishment, such as TWR, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos National Laboratories, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and many civil organizations and universities. But market compact electromagnetic pulse sources of directional radiation and with output power of 1 GW and more already are available for sale. -VG