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(Portland Press Herald)   New report warns that terrorists could black out an entire section of the U.S. by attacking our power grid. Or, they could just wait for the next moderate rain storm   (pressherald.com ) divider line
    More: Scary, limit debate, U.S., computer insecurity, ice storms, Eastern United States, DHS, National Academy of Engineering, critical infrastructure  
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2714 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Nov 2012 at 10:20 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-17 11:12:30 AM  
3 votes:
Gotta wonder about the ability of foreign terrorists to even attack the country. A single pipe bomb at a mall, sporting event, or school would mess this country up real bad. Yet it hasn't happened. Maybe we've been mislead towards the severity of the threat in order to have a huge military budget. Seems like all those sleeper cells we heard about after 9/11 might not exist?
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-17 10:35:29 AM  
2 votes:
Seriously, this time.

There are two problems. We can't fix the vulnerability of a single transmission line at a reasonable cost. We can build a system that isn't perpetually on the edge of collapse because there's no revenue in building a margin for failure.

As I said in one of the storm threads, utilities are good at handling revenue-related events with less than 5 year recurrence and awful at handling non-revenue events or long term planning. Routine tree trimming, fine. Tree trimming for 20 year ice storms, no can do. Moving utility poles so a road can be widened isn't revenue and doesn't get done until the state threatens to revoke permits. Planning for 10-50 year events costs money and provides no benefit, with benefit measured in the 0-5 year time frame.

So we have a system where a lightning strike in Quebec takes the Northeast offline.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-17 05:11:50 PM  
1 vote:
power company was doing tree trimming around lines in a well off neighborhood which caused the residents on the block to go into full rage mode over it.

After the 20 year ice storms I mentioned Massachusetts raised fines for utilities that don't get power back on quickly after a storm ends. Another ice storm would cause huge fines and raise the political stakes even more. So crews went out and clearcut around power lines to make sure nothing fell next time. Some towns were begging to go back to the old way of life with trees and power outages.  There are people whose back yards are mostly power line right of way. Owners figured that meant poles and towers to keep their shrubs and small trees company. Now it means an open field.
2012-11-17 04:13:00 PM  
1 vote:

Aidan:
As for tree trimming, I'm waiting for one tree to fall in my yard and hit the pole. Had my electricity company out twice to look at it and both times they said not their problem because it was too far away (but it's really tall and is already leaning precisely toward the pole. It WILL hit the pole). Grinds my teeth just thinking about it!

The avoidance of extra effort to avoid problems is prevalent at a low and high level. Infuriating!


Yeah, but then they mess with the tree and someone sues them over it. It happened in my city: power company was doing tree trimming around lines in a well off neighborhood which caused the residents on the block to go into full rage mode over it.
2012-11-17 01:25:17 PM  
1 vote:
what a terrorist might look like
img.photobucket.com
2012-11-17 11:30:52 AM  
1 vote:

NewportBarGuy: I remain convinced by the scientific/techie dudes that investing about $10 billion in our energy grid would give us an awesome return on investment, and allow them to put in modern safeguards to protect that grid.

I really don't understand why we haven't done it yet. Sure, the act of paying for it and all the construction sucks and is not sexy, but the end result would be pretty hot!


Read: One Second After by William R. Forstchen for an even stronger reason.
2012-11-17 11:28:33 AM  
1 vote:
Unfortunately, this isn't news since it's been known about for at least a few years. Yet I am unaware if anything has been done about it.
2012-11-17 10:51:33 AM  
1 vote:
Jeevus Crisco, how long are we going to talk talk talk about this instead of just armoring the dan grid?? I'll bet Farkers have known about EMPs for at least 20+ years.
2012-11-17 10:34:28 AM  
1 vote:
And as always, The Onion is prophetic. Link
2012-11-17 10:31:43 AM  
1 vote:

NewportBarGuy: I remain convinced by the scientific/techie dudes that investing about $10 billion in our energy grid would give us an awesome return on investment, and allow them to put in modern safeguards to protect that grid.

I really don't understand why we haven't done it yet. Sure, the act of paying for it and all the construction sucks and is not sexy, but the end result would be pretty hot!


Because there is little to no political gain in fixing things that don't make for handy photo ops. A new highway, bridge, community center, aircraft carrier, etc. all provide nice backdrops for speeches; doubly good when you've named it after a popular politician in your party. In fact, having an aging power grid is useful to politicians; it gives them an example of "aging infrastructure that we must fix now!" and something to bash the other party with, but then they dole out those extra dollars the aforementioned highways, bridges, etc. Rinse and repeat. 

The other problem is visibility. If it works, it's kind of hard to prove ("Well, if we hadn't done it we would have had.... um, I don't know... nine more power outages?") and when there is a power outage, it's a lightning rod (so to speak) for people who like to biatch and moan ("You promised that if we spent this money we'd never be without power again!" "Well, no, what I said was..." "Shut up! You promised!").
2012-11-17 10:29:55 AM  
1 vote:
All of our Telecommunications, water, sewage, road, rail and electric infrastructure will remain vulnerable simply because there's no way to adequatly secure the large fixed emplacements required to support them. Even if you turn the command and control centers into bunkers, you can disable them by using a backhoe to cut through some tiny copper of glass fiber lines.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-17 10:28:23 AM  
1 vote:
Or they could catapult a bucket of squirrels into a power station.
2012-11-17 10:25:32 AM  
1 vote:

NewportBarGuy: I remain convinced by the scientific/techie dudes that investing about $10 billion in our energy grid would give us an awesome return on investment, and allow them to put in modern safeguards to protect that grid.

I really don't understand why we haven't done it yet. Sure, the act of paying for it and all the construction sucks and is not sexy, but the end result would be pretty hot!


I think one reason people are reluctant is that it is a lot harder to do than they think. Boulder, CO had Xcel try and do it. Now excel is trying to get another 15 million or so outta Boulder because they had some serious cost overruns. That being said it still needs to happen the power grid is the single most important thing in America. A nationwide blackout for any extended period would cause the world economy to collapse.
2012-11-17 09:36:21 AM  
1 vote:
I remain convinced by the scientific/techie dudes that investing about $10 billion in our energy grid would give us an awesome return on investment, and allow them to put in modern safeguards to protect that grid.

I really don't understand why we haven't done it yet. Sure, the act of paying for it and all the construction sucks and is not sexy, but the end result would be pretty hot!
 
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