CESER works to address high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) risks to the Nation’s energy system, particularly the electric grid, in close coordination with federal and industry partners, including the DOE National Laboratories, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Defense (DoD).

These efforts are guided by the March 2019 Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020, both of which reinforce DOE’s critical roles in both leading grid-specific efforts and collaborating with its partners to improve overall EMP resilience. They also build off the Joint Electromagnetic Pulse Resilience Strategy and DOE’s Electromagnetic Pulse Resilience Action Plan.

As part of these efforts, DOE released unclassified waveforms that can be used by non-DoD government, industry, and other risk-holders to assess potential HEMP susceptibilities for government agencies, commercial electrical systems, and other networked infrastructures across the sixteen critical infrastructure sectors.

HEMP Waveform Resources

In addition, existing and laboratory awards are driving testing, modeling, and assessment efforts to identify and understand vulnerabilities, and field deployments to evaluate and validate protection and mitigation technologies. These efforts will help government and industry identify what critical infrastructure needs additional protection and deploy effective and efficient forms of protection and mitigation for owners and operators to consider.

CESER continues to fund several different mitigation pilot projects to assess vulnerability, identify cost-effective mitigation options, and work with the owner operator to implement options to reduce risk – for both EMP and GMD.  These include generation projects at two different power plants, transmission projects at four different substations, a distribution project, and a natural gas pipeline system project.

CESER is also part of a joint project with DHS and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to examine the cooling systems of nuclear power plants, assessing the ability of these plants to safely shut down and continue to cool the reactor core and spent fuel rod ponds after an EMP event.

These ongoing and planned efforts will provide insights into future improvements in protecting and enhancing the resilience of our energy systems, and mitigating EMP and GMD impacts on generation, transmission, and distribution systems throughout the nation.