February 23, 2012
A nuclear device detonated up to 500 miles above the earth’s surface could generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) with a “devastating” effect on power supplies, telecommunications and other vital systems, the Commons Defence Committee said.
It warned that countries such as Iran – which is resisting international pressure to end its nuclear programme – and even eventually some “non-state actors” could acquire the technology to mount such an attack, in a scenario akin to the plot of the 1995 James Bond film ‘GoldenEye’.
Terrorists could also build a “crude” non-nuclear EMP weapon, with the power to cause disruption over a more limited area.
But despite the vulnerability of the UK to such an attack, the committee accused the Ministry of Defence of appearing “complacent” and “unwilling to take these threats seriously”.