In a scenario eerily similar to a James Bond film, news reports suggest that North Korea has a working EMP weapon in place. In fact, an expert claims that the nation could already have two satellites in orbit and is now preparing to unleash a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States, an attack that many fear could usher in World War 3.
While people have been used to reading fantastic yet unbacked news developments from North Korea, the EMP claim has more credibility to it. This time, the worrying claim was made by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, an executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, according to the Independent.
Dr. Pry claims that North Korea has been developing an EMP weapon (short for electromagnetic pulse) over the years. The nation started the program back in the 80s. Apparently, they have already launched two satellites for this purpose: one in 2012 and a more recent one in 2016.
The potentially devastating effects of an electromagnetic pulse were recognized during the early days of nuclear weapons testing. Back then, it was observed that nuclear detonations, even ones high up in the atmosphere, could have effects on electronic equipment.
Naturally, the two superpowers wanted to weaponize the known effects of EMP. In fact, it was the premise of the James Bond film Goldeneye, where the villain sought to disrupt global commerce and stock market trading by detonating a thermonuclear device on board a satellite over London, erasing every digital record of whatever trading occurred at that time.
But what threat does the alleged North Korean EMP capability pose to the United States? While an electromagnetic pulse attack is predicted to cause a significant amount of devastation due to its interference with electronics, there are those who calculate that North Korea does not pose a significant threat to the U.S. population in general.
Apparently, the EMP capability that North Korea could possess is not yet proven to be as devastating as predicted by some scientists. For instance, Russian and U.S. experiments conducted during the Cold War failed to convince experts that EMP is indeed as devastating as it was touted to be, reports the Daily Mail.
Known as Project Starfish, the United States conducted an experiment on the effects of an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear weapon detonated high in the atmosphere. For this purpose, the U.S. denoted a 1.44 megaton nuclear device, which is around 100 times more powerful that the one dropped on Nagasaki during World War 2, high above the Pacific Ocean.
While the visual effects of the nuclear explosion were indeed stunning, its EMP effects were not as spectacular as expected. For instance, only one series of street lights in Hawaii was affected as a result of the nuclear testing.
Russian also conducted similar tests on the effects of EMP during that time. One such test involved detonating a 300-kiloton warhead near Jezkazgan, a city in Kazakhstan. This time, the electromagnetic pulse was more damaging compared to the U.S. test. For example, all fuses, as well as the overvoltage protectors of a 570-kilometer telephone line, were damaged.
But reports of a North Korean EMP having the capacity to damage military equipment and U.S. society, in general, may be a bit overplayed. In fact, Jeffery Lewis, a nuclear non-proliferation expert, claims that they may be a bit “silly.” Thus far, results of electromagnetic pulse experiments have been anticlimactic, specifically when it comes to military hardware.
And then there are doubts on the actual North Korean EMPs capability. In a previous Inquisitr report, Stratfor military analyst Sim Tack explained that the nation’s capability to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack may be a bit theoretical at the moment.
The verdict: North Korean EMP is unlikely to fry your microwave oven’s circuits. At best, the nation may try to capitalize on the perceived threat as a bargaining chip in case of another U.S.-led sanction.
[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]