An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from MarketWatch: "A one-megaton nuclear bomb detonated 250 miles over Kansas could cripple many modern electronic devices and systems in the continental US and take out the power grid for a long time. ... A solar storm similar to the one that occurred in 1859, which shorted out telegraph wires in the United States and Europe, could wreak havoc on electrical systems. Each of the above scenarios can create a powerful electromagnetic pulse that overloads electronic devices and systems. IAN staff and Frostburg State University physics and engineering professor Hilkat Soysal are teaming — through a $165,000 project recently approved by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program — to create renewable energy-powered, electromagnetic pulse (EMP)-protected microgrids that could provide electricity for critical infrastructure facilities in the event of a disaster." Also available are an EMP threat assessment (PDF) written for the US Congress and an estimate of economic impact (PDF).