MPs warn over nuclear space bombs and solar flares

#1
The government must take more seriously the threat of a nuclear weapon being exploded in space by a rogue state, MPs have warned.


The Defence Select Committee said the resulting radiation pulse could disrupt power and water supplies, UK defence and satellite navigation systems. Its chairman, Tory MP James Arbuthnot, said an attack was "quite likely".


The committee is urging ministers to invest in more "hardened" technology to cope with such an event. It looked at the threat to the UK's technological infrastructure from "electro-magnetic pulse" (EMP) events in space, which could also include the eruption of solar flares.


'Quite likely'

The committee found the government was "somewhat complacent" about the risks to technology, such as the destruction of computer chips, which could put defence systems out of action.


Mr Arbuthnot told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The defence really is to build up the resilience of the electronic infrastructure by, over a period of time, replacing the incredibly delicate and vulnerable systems and chips and connections that we now have with the more hardened chips and connections and systems that are available at a not very expensive price, as you're doing your routine maintenance."


On the possibility of a nuclear missile being fired into space and exploded, he said: "I personally believe that it's quite likely to happen. It's a comparatively easy way of using a small number of nuclear weapons to cause devastating damage.


"The consequences if it did happen would be so devastating that we really ought to start protecting against it now, and our vulnerabilities are huge." Mr Arbuthnot added: "it would actually have a far more devastating effect to use a nuclear weapon in this way than to explode a bomb in or on a city. The reason for that is it would, over a much wider area, take out things like the National Grid, on which we all rely for almost everything, take out the water system, the sewage system.


"And rapidly it would become very difficult to live in cities. I mean within a matter of a couple of days. "I wish the government would address this with rather more energy and cohesion and focus. I think sooner rather than later."


Currently a severe "space weather" event would most likely be considered an "emergency" under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and require help from the armed forces. But the committee called for a clearer picture of who has responsibility in such an event.


'Global threat'

The report insisted such threats should be considered by the National Security Council and civil contingency planners, with standards of protection developed for industries most in danger.


Conventional defence alone could not protect against the threat, it said. In February last year a large solar flare erupted, disrupting flights over Pacific, but the bulk of the material emitted by the Sun passed by Earth.


The committee said sudden fluctuations in the magnetic field caused by weather in space or nuclear attack, could wipe out electricity and GPS, used by the military and financial markets. It added: "Space weather is a global threat and may affect many regions and countries simultaneously."


This, the report said, meant countries should work together, but also that there was no guaranteed safe place from where help could come.
The report also urged the Ministry of Defence to plan for the loss or degradation of satellite-based communications systems in case they are damaged by severe space weather.

BBC News - MPs warn over nuclear space bombs and solar flares
So in other words Iran as they are currently developing a space capability (one of their satellites flies over the UK at least once a day)
 
#4
The Septics never did abandon the 'Starwars Project' (SDI),,they only pretended to.....
 
#5
#6
Is this not the reason for the USA placing anti IBM son of star wars or whatever it is called in Europe
 
#8
If I wanted to disrupt a city, wouldn't it be more reliable and cheaper to nick a Transit and plant a nuke and let it off? Far more newsworthy, even a conventional PE bomb spiked with radio active material is relatively easy to fabricate and deliver. I'd be more worried about the square mile being a no go zone for 100 years and visible for all and sundry to see as a reminder than an EMP which may or may not have the effects predicted.

Plus there's less chance of this

India satellite rocket explodes after take-off - YouTube

Or this

Failed V2 Rocket - YouTube
 
#9
My understanding was that EMP was a vastly overrated concept - similar to nuclear winter, a theory which could only be made to work by the proponent falsifying the data and relying on a flat earth with no terrain variations. Much of the side effects of nuclear weapons are often completely misunderstood.
 
#11
My understanding was that EMP was a vastly overrated concept - similar to nuclear winter, a theory which could only be made to work by the proponent falsifying the data and relying on a flat earth with no terrain variations. Much of the side effects of nuclear weapons are often completely misunderstood.

The devil, as always, is in the detail. Let nukes off at ground level or airbursts suitable for city smashing and EMP effects are not going to be the top of your list of things to worry about. However, let them off at altitude in or near the Van Allen belts and things are very different. The Yanks did this in the 50's, and scared themselves with the results. Electrical systems were blown, street lights went out and so on in Hawaii, best part of a thousand miles away from the blast. Those pre-chip electrics were far more resilient to EMP than the infrastructure we rely on today. Google Starfish Prime, part of Operation Fishbowl if you're interested.

And even if nukes don't do it, we know the sun will some day. The only question is how long before it happens.
 
#12
press reset. we should all go back to using swords.
HiD's Grandfather was the army fencing champion (and an Olympic gold medallist). Unfortunately he slipped off the plate a few years ago.
 
#13
The devil, as always, is in the detail. Let nukes off at ground level or airbursts suitable for city smashing and EMP effects are not going to be the top of your list of things to worry about. However, let them off at altitude in or near the Van Allen belts and things are very different. The Yanks did this in the 50's, and scared themselves with the results. Electrical systems were blown, street lights went out and so on in Hawaii, best part of a thousand miles away from the blast. Those pre-chip electrics were far more resilient to EMP than the infrastructure we rely on today. Google Starfish Prime, part of Operation Fishbowl if you're interested.

And even if nukes don't do it, we know the sun will some day. The only question is how long before it happens.
That might be the only question for you, but I also want to know if it happened at night would we notice :?
 
#14
That might be the only question for you, but I also want to know if it happened at night would we notice :?
Google "Carrington event" - you might get to see the Northern Lights...

Of course, if you can't buy food because the tills don't work, and you can't get cash because the cash machines or their infrastructure are humped, the least of your worries is that your phone doesn't work.

If you want "really nasty", google "Gamma Ray Burster".
 
#15
OK, so which of these MP's has shares or Directorships pending in the companies that stand to make £Billions in the latest Henny Penny the sky is falling techno-scam?
 
#16
Google "Carrington event" - you might get to see the Northern Lights...

Of course, if you can't buy food because the tills don't work, and you can't get cash because the cash machines or their infrastructure are humped, the least of your worries is that your phone doesn't work.

If you want "really nasty", google "Gamma Ray Burster".
I don't think I am going to worry too much about any of it Gravelbelly. I survived the Cuban Crisis and the Bermuda Triangle, not to mention a rather embarrasing social disease contracted via a short liaison with a member of the WRAF. :)
 
#19
Brilliant! MP's have taken time out from milking the country dry for their one personal gain, and discovered what us lesser mortals call, a EMP.

I can have a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing our illustrious leaders, have their fingers on the pulse.
 
#20
Companies that provide hardened equipment are suddenly realising that the MOD is more prepared to pay for ten gash Tesco laptops than one £1000 toughened bespoke jobby, and want to cause some concern. Shock.
 

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