The short answer is Yes, they are real. Nuclear bombs can be used for an EMP attack.
Before we think further about that, here a few brief questions:
Anyone who thinks the history of massive conflicts is over should read this Wikipedia page to understand the numbers of people killed in modern conflicts. See “Major Operations” further down the page:
But war has also changed.
The enemy may not be a particular country. And there may be no particular battlefield, with clear lines defining territory. “Fighting” can be spread out in small spots over huge areas and even different continents.
And technology has advanced enormously in the last few decades.
An EMP attack could be used tactically in a relatively small area or be high enough above the ground to affect hundreds of miles. The effects have been observed repeatedly in the days of atmospheric nuclear bomb testing. The photo shows the Starfish Prime test at 250 miles altitude.
EMP attacks would be carried out at such high altitudes that there is no actual blast harm. The destruction would be caused by the disruption of electronic systems. This would cause severe damage to the grid, communications, hospitals, food delivery, operations of government agencies, aid, business… basically every aspect of modern life.
Such an attack could be carried out relatively easily, and in a way that we might not even know who was responsible. Unlike ICBM (Inter-continental ballistic missile) attacks, EMP bombs do not need to be accurate and they do not require a re-entry capability with heat shield and shock absorbers.
China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have all written about the possibility of using EMP attacks. It is thought that China and Russia (at least) have specialized bombs referred to as Super-EMP bombs. North Korea may also have them. And in case anyone thinks Russia is no longer a threat, on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, Russian state TV boasted about the US locations that would be targeted in the event of a nuclear strike. They boasted that their “coming soon” hypersonic missile could hit such targets within five minutes of a launch from hidden subs.
It seems to be that EMP attacks are an actual potential danger and have been widely discussed. See the latest EMP commission report, “Nuclear EMP Attack Scenarios and Combined-Arms Cyber Warfare”. This is the 13th and final report of the commission. It is dated July 2017. The amended report was cleared for open publication by the DoD Office of Prepublication and Security Review on July 27, 2018.
The first essential, after oxygen, is water. If you have a well, the Simple Pump hand-operated pump can give you water from far further down and with dramatically less effort than any other hand pump.
And if you have one of our motors, and a bad enough EMP knocks out the control circuitry, it takes only about fifteen minutes to convert back to hand operation! No other pump has this capability.
We all hope such a huge disaster never happens. But besides such extreme possibilities, every year routinely brings grid breakdowns from snow, ice, wind, fire, and floods. It seems to be just common sense to make sure – as best we can – that we’ll always have access to our water.