Escalating Mideast Conflict: Will Earth Survive?
Few people are aware of this potential disaster. In an escalating conflict with nukes, the detonation of just one or two nukes high over the U.S. or any other country would create a disaster of epic proportions. Even the use of smaller tactical nuclear weapons runs the grave risk of escalating counterstrikes. It should be stressed that stateless "terrorists" do not have the capability to deliver such a high altitude nuclear detonation, nor do Iran, Syria, Lebanon, or North Korea. This conflict, which will likely draw Russia or China into the fray, threatens everyone on the planet, not just "terrorists" (or freedom fighters, or defenders of their homelands, take your pick).
The following is from the Nuclear Security Advisory Council.
Q. The United States is the dominant space-faring nation with more military satellites in orbit than every other nation combined. How difficult would it be to disrupt or destroy U.S. space-based systems?Nations that have the capability to deliver a high atmosphere nuclear detonation:
A. Any nation. Military satellites are very vulnerable. As we learned at our conference the easiest way to paralyze the entire U.S. space satellite system in low Earth orbit is by detonating a nuclear weapon at that level above the Earth to produce radiation in the belt where the satellites orbit. The satellites built to function for 10 years will then all die a slow death over just a few weeks as they pass through the most irradiated areas.
And if you detonate a single nuclear weapon in the upper atmosphere you will produce an electric magnetic pulse, or EMP. One nuclear weapon detonated in near space would therefore melt down the entire electronic communications network of the United States.
This would of course ruin the U.S. economy and utterly disrupt society across the country. But it would have even more grave consequences. There are 103 nuclear power plants across the United States. They all rely on external electricity supply that powers their water-coolant systems. If these were all knocked out, you would run the risk of more than 100 Chernobyl-scale nuclear core meltdowns across the United States.
All the power plants have their own back-up generators, of course, but they would all need time crank up and too often their testing and maintenance has been neglected because they so seldom, if ever, have had to be used in the past, and some of them don't work when they're supposed to. Therefore there would indeed be a real risk of many Chernobyls all over the place. Thus a single EMP detonation in space aimed against U.S. military space-based assets could produce a truly cataclysmic outcome, and it would be very easy to do.