The USA and Britain do not preclude the possibility of mass-controlled shutdown of power supply in case of large solar flares PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 07:32

“The Independent” reported yesterday, that representatives of Great Britain and the USA discussed the possibility of mass-controlled power outages in their own countries, in response to a warning about a possible powerful solar flare.

In an interview with “The Independent”, Thomas Bogdan, director of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center, said that the massive government-controlled power outages will defend the national power grid from damage, that can cause a powerful solar flare. According to Thomas Bogdan, a powerful solar flare and caused by solar flare a powerful geomagnetic storm, can cause damage to power grids, to eliminate all the consequences of which would be required months or years, if not taken any precautions.

Director U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center proposed the creation of the International Centre for space weather forecasting, to coordinate the global response to the threat of consequences from solar flares. As a result of recent calculations, taking into account the factors of the last major outbreak in the Sun, one of the largest on record, it was found, that a major geomagnetic storm can cause significant surges in the national electricity networks, which could cause a failure of electricity supply in the entire areas of America and Europe, because of what the power supply in these areas may stop for days, weeks, and in some cases for months.

And such concerns of scientists is due not only to theoretical calculations, before, during large magnetic storms, there were cases of massive and uncontrolled shutdown of power supply of entire regions of individual countries. The most famous case occurred 22 years ago, in March 1989,in the Canadian province of Quebec, where a strong magnetic storm caused the overload of the entire energy system of Quebec, as a result, millions of people were left without electricity. Magnetic storm began emitting large quantities of plasma from the Sun, when the plasma has reached the Earth- changes started in the Earth's magnetic field. There have been fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field, leading to the formation of powerful electromagnetic fields over the territory of the northern U.S. and Canada, it affected the work of high-voltage power lines, and the result was disastrous overload, which resulted in the disconnection of power supply.

Technically, geomagnetic storms caused by solar flares, are problems throughout the electrical network of the country. Tension in the high-voltage wires, resulting in the effect of electromagnetic fields caused by magnetic storms, greatly exceeds the prescribed rate, and power transformers of the country overheat and fail, that makes it possible for large problems - until the crash the entire grid of the country. The vulnerability of electricity caused by the fact, that the more developed the country's electricity, the better they perform the role of an antenna, attracting vibrations of Earth's electromagnetic field. High-voltage power lines, which are preferred when designing the country's grid, in connection with the possibility of minimal energy losses during transmission over a distance, did supply more vulnerable to magnetic storms, as companies thinking first and foremost about profit, but by creating more energy-efficient grid they thereby greatly weakening its on solar activity.

UK government and the U.S. are concerned about possible chaos and riots, which may arise in the case of mass shutdown of power supply, as in the United States has been the sad experience of a sudden power outage in New York on the night from 13 to 14 July 1977. As a result, almost all of New Yor plunged into darkness, the city began rioting: the gang of robbers attacked and set fire to shops in town were more than a thoUSAnd fires. Was robbed of more than 1 500 stores, barred windows just pull the trucks, the overall damage from the disorder is estimated, according to various sources, from 300 million to 1 billion dollars .Was found, were engaged in looting more than 100 thoUSAnd people, as a result - in prisons had no place. And it's all the result of one night without electricity, and now Director U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center warns, that the grids of the U.S. and other countries has become much more complicated then grids in 1977, making it more susceptible to the effects of geomagnetic storms and geomagnetic storms can now de-energize the country's power grid will not for one day, but for weeks or even months.

Therefore, controlled shutdown of power supply is preferable, better to get people to wait without electricity one day, than deal with the consequences of riots, that may arise from uncontrolled power outage for a longer time.

According to the most pessimistic scenario, a powerful geomagnetic storm could be one of the most devastating natural disasters in the world, since such a storm can deprive entire regions of the world's electricity for months, affecting the operation of power systems on several continents simultaneously.

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