Chapter 1 – EMP

A phenomenon associated with a nuclear detonation called electromagnetic pulse (EMP) poses no direct health threat, but can be very damaging to electronic equipment. EMP is an electromagnetic field generated from the detonation that produces a high-voltage surge. This voltage surge can impact electronic components that it reaches. The EMP phenomenon is a major effect for large bursts at very high altitude, but it is not well understood how it radiates outward from a ground level burst, as considered in this guidance, and to what degree it will damage the electronic systems that permeate modern society. Although experts have not achieved consensus on expected impacts, generally they believe that the most severe consequence of the pulse would not travel beyond about 2 miles (3.2 km) to 5 miles (8 km) from a ground level 10 KT explosion. Stalling of vehicles, communications equipment (cell towers, ect.) electronics destroyed or disrupted, computer equipment electrical components destroyed, control systems electrical components destroyed, water and electrical system control components destroyed or disrupted, and other electronic devices damage could result. Another EMP phenomenon called source-region EMP may lead to conductance of electricity through conducting materials (e.g., pipes and wires) and could cause damage much farther away, but this subject requires further research and analysis. Because the extent of the EMP effect is expected to occur relatively close to ground zero, other effects of the explosion (such as blast destruction) are expected to dominate over the EMP effect. Equipment brought in from unaffected areas should function normally if communications towers and repeaters remain functioning.
EMP effects could result in extensive electronics disruptions complicating the function of communications, computers, and other essential electronic equipment. Equipment brought in from unaffected areas should function normally if communications towers and repeaters remain functioning