Late to the party, but still talking sense. In a report written in 2007 but released only this week, the National Research Council – an independent organisation that advises the US government on science and technology policy – warns that the national power grid is inherently vulnerable to terrorist attack. Such an attack could cause more damage than hurricane Sandy, say the authors, “blacking out large regions of the country for weeks or months and costing many billions of dollars”.
The five-year delay was due to the report needing a full security review by the US Department of Homeland Security, its sponsor. Nevertheless, Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering, maintain that the key findings of the report remain “highly relevant”.
Part of the problem is that the grid is spread across a huge area, and many key facilities are unguarded. The infrastructure is also heavily stressed, leaving it especially at risk to multiple failures following an attack. Some equipment is decades out of date. What’s more, the report itself is five years old. What has changed since 2007?
Read More: News Scientist