Blackout: lawmakers seek to protect electrical grid

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Rep. Scott Perry (R-4th) says he’s concerned about a threat many people have never experienced, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could render everything relying on electricity useless for days, weeks, or even months.

“I think that it’s appropriate for people to be aware, and that we consider what we can do to harden our defenses, our electricity grid,” said Perry.

He recently chaired a House committee hearing to look at how realistic the threat is. An EMP attack has been dramatized on “24,” but Perry says it’s been a struggle to convince other lawmakers what’s fact and what’s fiction.

An EMP can be generated through an attack, which experts view as unlikely, or through a solar flare impacting Earth.

FOX43 talked with Dr. Mike Frankel, a theoretical physicist with Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory and former head of the national EMP Commission. He spent years researching the possible effects of an EMP.

Click the video player above to find out what could be done to harden the country’s electrical grid and why that’s proven complicated.

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