Shielding concrete: First line of defense against electromagnetic pulse

Miami-based Omni-Threat Structures (OTS) has developed an electromagnetic shielding concrete wall as part of a broader strategy to mitigate threats to utility and other infrastructure sectors. The OTS Intentional Electromagnetic Interference (IEMI) provides vital protection against weapons as well as ballistic/kinetic and blast attacks, prospects for which are fueling global concerns among facility and equipment owners.

Of the 16 Department of Homeland Security-designated infrastructure segments, power utility is particularly susceptible to attacks on substations and other assets. The OTS IEMI Wall can be constructed to protect existing facilities without the disruption of developing an entirely new structure. Using shielding concrete, such walls have been constructed as a cost-effective alternative to steel, steel mesh and extruded steel assemblies. From a technical perspective, the OTS IEMI Wall is capable of 30-40 dB, or better, of attenuation across the typical IEMI frequency range. At 40 dB the IEMI wall provides 99 percent shielding. Further, the wall proves inherently resilient to ballistic and kinetic threats.

By way of example, a ballistic attack like the 2013 incident at the Metcalf Transmission Substation in San Jose, Calif., would not have succeeded in the presence of a concrete IEMI wall. When OTS panels are installed instead of standard wall construction, transformers—especially their sensors, actuators and other instrumentation—are protected from terrestrial IEMI attacks for little extra cost relative to the value of the transformer asset, OTS engineers affirm.