Letter Re: Six Common Misconceptions About EMP

A question for the writer of the EMP article. Though the article was informative, he, like pretty much everyone else that writes about EMP’s or other forms of grid failure, completely ignores the 900 # gorilla in the room. Can we expect the 100+ nuclear power plants in the country to have meltdowns when the grid can no longer supply the power these plants need? In particular, what about the spent fuel pools? My understanding is that they have emergency generators and anywhere from a few days to a few weeks worth of fuel on hand but even if somehow those generators weren’t damaged by the EMP, I somehow doubt the government has realistic plans to keep them fueled and care for the workers needed to run the nuke plants. Thanks. – B.U.

Hugh Replies: This is an issue that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is aware of, and, if their literature is to be believed, is actively preparing for. According to their web site, the NRC has been dealing with this exact issue for 30 years and has stringent controls in place to ensure the outcome. They believe that as of two years ago, nuclear plants in the United States can shut down safely. It would be good to hear from someone knowledgeable on the subject as to how that relates to the real world.