Nuclear Weapons
the What you need to know about Nuclear Weapons guide prepared by The Heritage Foundation is a useful resource.

The EMP Threat: How It Works and What It Means for the Korean Crisis

2/20/18
from Maudlin Economics,
2/19/18:

Over the past year, North Korean state media have repeatedly featured warnings of a potential high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack against the United States. The North is moving rapidly toward both a high-yield weapon (which is likely needed to pose a major EMP threat to the US) and the ballistic missile capability needed to deliver it. Depending on which group of scientists you believe, the threat of a high-altitude EMP attack can range from an overhyped doomsayer fever dream to a grievously overlooked and near-existential threat to the US. But given the uncertainty around the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the debate about the severity of the EMP threat is worth examining. A high-altitude EMP attack would work like this: A nuclear device explodes at high altitude, somewhere between 25 miles (40 kilometers) and 250 miles above the Earth, producing powerful gamma rays that radiate outward. Upon colliding with molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere, the downward-directed gamma rays create a powerful electromagnetic energy field. The EMP doesn’t hurt humans directly, but it makes some electrical devices and attached cables act as antennas, hitting electronic systems with a surge of high-voltage current.

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