Dr. Arthur Bradley, better known as the EMP Doctor, is an inventor, scientist, and best-selling author of the Survivalist series. He holds a doctorate in engineering from Auburn University and currently works as a senior engineer for NASA. Additionally, he is a former Army veteran. Dr. Bradley also runs a website called Disaster Preparer (not prepper). During an interview, he describes EMP as an acronym for electromagnetic pulse, a term that refers to various sources of electromagnetic energy. While lightning is one source of EMP, people often talk about EMP attacks, which are nuclear-generated high-altitude EMPs detonated hundreds of miles above the earth's surface. The electromagnetic wave created during an EMP attack can cause damage to electronic devices by flowing into electrical conductors. Some people also talk about EMPs in reference to solar coronal mass ejections, which are different from nuclear-generated EMPs. Dr. Bradley explains the differences between the two and notes that nuclear-generated EMPs have three components (E1, E2, and E3) and are much more powerful than coronal mass ejections from the sun.
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Is it a thousand times more powerful from a nuke blast, or is this just kind of business as usual? Well, so they're different. A nuclear-generated EMP has three components to it, the waveform components. And everybody talks about E1, E2, and E3. Those are the three components, and they're each worth understanding.
So E1 is the thing that immediately happens after the detonation. It's a very, very narrow pulse of energy that perturbs the Earth. It only lasts maybe about 20 nanoseconds, so a very small amount of time, but it's supremely powerful. You might generate fields of 50,000 volts per meter, which is a lot. And so that can cause damage to nearly anything. Small-scale electronics like your phone or your car or anything like that, those are all considered small scale, as well as propagating energy into longer conductors, which can damage other things. So you get this E1 burst.
Now the sun does not emit anything like that. So there is no E1 burst from the sun. So that's good news. The sun's never going to damage your cell phone or your car or anything like that because it doesn't have energy to get into those small devices. The EMP also has an E2, which is very similar to a lightning type event. So a nearby lightning strike generates something akin to an E2. So, you know, nearby lightning can cause damages. And that's very similar to what an EMP does from its E2 waveform. If you have normal protectors on your systems like surge protection and stuff, they will generally protect against E2. They're just designed for that frequency spectrum. They won't do much against E1 because E1 is just too fast. And then there's a third component, E3, which is a very long-duration sort of slow swelling of energy. You can think about it kind of like a flood where energy on the long conductor starts to rise over time slowly. And so you think about your power lines. They normally have, you know, 120 volts AC RMS on. They start to climb up and climb up. And that can cause damage to transformers as well as just anything else attached.
The sun also possesses the ability to create that E3. So if you looked at EMPs and the solar chroma mass ejection, they overlap at the E3. They can both generate an E3 event. And they can both destroy the power grid, and they can both cause lots and lots of damage to the country. So I would say both of them are equally dangerous in that way. The disadvantage of the EMP is it also has the E1 and the E2, which can damage all kinds of small-scale electronics as well. So in a sense, it's much worse than the CME because it just has that other compatibility there that's just spreading everything else.
Got it. Wow. That's fascinating. So a Nuke Blast generated EMP, this is the one that, you know, obviously most of us are concerned about. Alright, we're going to lose all our communications. Our cars are going to be fried. We are not going to be able to communicate. You know, it's kind of life as we know it. Our dependence on electronics is gone versus the slow swell of the E3 with significant damage to the power grid. Okay, but still, our electronics would work if it were a solar generated versus an EMP. Right. That's right. So your car is still going to start just fine and be able to drive until you run out of gas. Right.