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National security experts are looking to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the city to help create solutions for protecting the nation's infrastructure from a potential electromagnetic pulse attack.

 

The Congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security and researchers at UL Lafayette are discussing challenges associated with electromagnetic pulse attacks. Such attacks could shut down the nation’s electrical grid and impact critical infrastructure.

“This is a real threat,” said UL Lafayette Vice President of Research Dr. Ramesh Kolluru. “It sounds like science fiction, but it is not. It sounds like a doomsday scenario, but this is a real scenario.”

The task force is assessing universities and companies that offer capabilities.

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is a member of the Congressional Task Force. “One nuclear weapon could take out the electric grid and all of the other critical life sustaining infrastructures and kill up to 90% of the population,” said Dr. Pry.

“There are also non-nuclear EMP weapons that would integrate with a cyber threat such as hacking.”

Experts predict an attack will happen within the next year and the United States is not prepared. A partnership with UL Lafayette could help establish a new line of protection.

Dr. Kolluru said, “We know clearly that this is bigger than any one university, this is bigger than the federal government. This can’t be solved by just government alone.”

Partnering with this task force would result in significant research and have an economic impact on the campus and the Acadiana region.

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