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EMP-proof data centre to open in Indiana in early 2017

Tue 13 Sep 2016

Lifeline Data Centers is committing approximately $17.5 million to the renovation of a former Target store in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to a colocation centre – with the ability to withstand an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack.

The process of building EMP shielding into the project was inspired by a convention lecture on EMP in April of 2015, attended by LDC’s founders, which led to the completion target for the project being held back by over a year in order to facilitate the extra security measure.

EMPs can occur through natural as well via military or terrorist action, and can be generated by solar flares or even, some surmise, very high-level electrical storm activity.

Co-owner Alex Carroll commented: “There’s a lot of solar radiation that bombards the Earth every single day, but it doesn’t overpower the natural gravitational shield of Earth. Every now and then, every hundred years or so you have a very strong solar radiation shock that creates electromagnetic interference. It can be strong enough to burn out electronics and things of that nature.”

Carroll continues: “The other thing that everybody’s generally familiar with [regarding] the EMP is a rogue entity launching a small nuclear warhead about twenty miles over Earth, and exploding it. That creates a pretty strong EMP. Also, local electromagnetic pulses can be generated via local terrorism or corporate espionage.”

The project, located at 7601 S. Anthony Blvd, was announced in September 2014 and has overshot its construction budget by $2.5 million due to costs associated with fitting the extra EMP shielding. Co-owner Rich Banta commented: “There was an awful lot of additional engineering and research to be done. That fully accounts for the delay.”

Although EMP-proof data centres are far from common outside of government and military establishments, EMP is becoming a rising factor in builds. In 2014 EMP Grid Services opened a 2,000 square foot EMP-protected data centre in Boyers, Pa. Though the company did not reveal the combination of metals or other cladding involved in the procedure, it did claim that EMP-proofing is not the budget-killer that many suppose it to be.

The U.S. military itself has developed weaponry capable of delivering catastrophic EMP emissions. In 2012 Boeing announced successful tests of Raytheon’s Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) over a Utah training range for the U.S. Airforce Research Laboratories. The project director Keith Coleman said at the time: “Today we made science-fiction science fact” – and indeed the EMP blast is practically a science-fiction mainstay by now.

Underground data centres with adequate penetration frequently claim to be proof against nuclear attack and EMPs.

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