MN Company Seeking to Protect Power Grid From Grave Threats


In an era that is plagued by terrorism, cyber warfare, and the constant the threat of nuclear confrontation, the political world continues to fail to discuss at length one of gravest threats the nation and the state of Minnesota face: an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that shuts down the power grid. An electromagnetic pulse is a short burst of electromagnetic energy that is able to effectively shut down power grids of varying sizes. Emprimus, a Minnesota company is acting to harden the nation’s power grid and protect citizens from a terrifying EMP attack.

In order to lessen the threat of  EMP attacks, public-private partnerships will be needed. One local company that is on the cutting edge of developing technology to prevent EMP the consequences of EMP attacks, is the Minneapolis based Emprimus. Established in 1984, Emprimus does research and develops products that protect critical military and non-military electronic systems.

According to US  News, “little has been done to take the necessary steps to protect our infrastructures, thus our vulnerability [to be attacked] only continues to increase.”  Why are EMP attacks so dangerous one may wonder? Due to the fact that we live in digitized modern society, virtually everything is operated by electricity, and therefore is susceptible the consequences of a failing power grid. Water supplies, refrigeration, modern medical procedures, government services, and modern methods of communication (cell phones, e-mail, etc.) are just some of the many things that would be decimated by the faltering of the nation’s power grid.

Peter Pry, Executive Director of the bi-partisan congressional group, EMP Task Force  says it would take the nation only $2 billion dollars to harden and protect our electric grid, but notes that if the nation fails to do so and falls victim to an EMP attack, 9 out of 10 people would die due to starvation, disease, and societal collapse.  To put this in perspective, 2 billion  is how much the U.S. gives in foreign aid to Pakistan per year, and Pry thinks we should halt that foreign aid: “If we suspended that for one year and put it toward hardening the electrical grid, we could protect the American people from this threat.”

Gale Nordling, President and CEO of Emprimus, believes that his company’s job is not only researching and developing products to prevent the consequences of an EMP attack, but also to educate the public on this increasingly pertinent issue. The devices that Emprimus helps to develop retail for roughly $500,000, but Nordling notes that this is only a small fraction of what electric transformers that power the grid cost. Most fascinating of the devices Emprimus develops is an Inferential Detector, which is able to “Detect a wide range of radio frequency threat intensities [used in EMP attacks], ranging from nuisance levels to those that damage electronics and cause data integrity issues.” Detection is a key component of keeping the grid safe.

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(Emprimus’ Inferential Detector, photo via: Emprimus.com)

Emprimus is proving itself to be on the cutting edge of preventing the consequneces of EMP attacks, and will remain instrumental in securing the power grid.  Subscribe to Alpha News to learn more about how private companies are making a difference in Minnesota.