The UK government has defended its efforts to identify the impact that severe space weather events could have on the UK's communications infrastructure.
In a response to a parliamentary committee's report in to the developing threat of electromagnetic pulses – either from large solar storms such as the 1859 Carrington Event or in the most extreme case, a nuclear explosion – the government acknowledged that EMPs pose a significant threat to the UK.
But it argued the risk of severe space weather had been fully recognised in its initial assessment of the likelihood and likely impact of a Carrington-magnitude event.
"Government departments have worked extensively with space weather scientists and engineers, industry, private sector asset owners and regulators to gain the best available quantitative assessment of the risk to UK infrastructure," it said.
"The most effective approach to improving resilience of national infrastructure and supply systems is to share assessments of the risks rather than to impose new standard," it added.
Earlier this year, the Defence Select Committee urged the government to take the risk from EMPs more seriously, warning it could have calamitous impacts on energy supplies, water processing, traffic control systems, GPS and communications.
The government said it has engaged with numerous experts to quantify the risks from space weather.
"Government departments, under Cabinet Office lead, have been consulting extensively with space weather scientists and engineers, industry, private sector asset owners and regulators, to assess the specific consequences of a severe space weather event," it said.
The government has also established a National Space Security Policy team, which will report later this year on the risks associated with space weather.
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