Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rifle-Toting Terrorists Pose Great Threat to Power Grid

In this article, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff made some ridiculous statements that might slightly discredit his claims about the vulnerability of our power grid.

He said, "A coordinated physical attack is a very, very unsettling thing to me." An attacker "could get 200 yards away with a .22 rifle and take the whole thing out."

Mr. Wellinghoff might be interested to know that the maximum effective range of a .22 long rifle is 150 yards.

Wellinghoff also claimed that a utility could install metal sheeting to block the view of the transformers for a "couple hundred bucks" and "if you can't see through the fence, you can't figure out where to shoot anymore."

This guy has obviously never done any target practice at a junk yard or landfill.  Serious damage could be done by firing blindly through metal sheeting because it would only take one round to pierce the transformer casing  causing oil to leak out and rendering the transformer inoperative.

It would take AR400 steel plates 3/8" thick to stop the most common rifle rounds including .308, .30-06 and 7.62x54R. AR400 3/8" costs is at least $800 for a 4x8 sheet. So effective protection with steel would not be as cheap as Wellinghoff claims.

The best and cheapest solution would probably involve moving transformers to an underground basement.

Source: Bloomberg

An attack on the power grid by terrorists -- even ones armed with relatively simple weapons -- is among the greatest threats to the reliability of the nation's power system, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.

"There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid" FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said today at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. "I don't think we have the level of physical security we need."

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