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Maybe the sky IS falling! Solar storm could knock out the grid, warns NAS

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Quick Take: Solar activity is expected to peak in 2013 -- and the resulting solar super-storms could destroy 300 or more of the grid's 2,100 high-voltage transformers. That's the conclusion of the National Academy of Sciences, one of a group of federal agencies studying ways to prepare. – Jesse Berst

 

Utilities are already under severe pressure to improve their resilience against natural and man-made disasters. This kind of story will only add to the clamor.

 

A monster blast of geomagnetic particles from the sun could destroy 300 or more of the 2,100 high-voltage transformers that are the backbone of the U.S. electric grid, according to a Reuters story in the Chicago Tribune that cites the National Academy of Sciences. What's worse, "getting replacements for the damaged transformers could take a year or more, with the cost of storm damage in the first year running as high as $2 trillion."

 

The East and the Northwest would be hardest hit. As many as 130 million people could be without power. The story warns there would be "no water and fuel in most cities within hours... and mechanized transport at a standstill." One expert even claimed that "law and order could break down entirely."

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