Originally Posted by asterix
I have heard in an interview several years ago that 4-5 well placed nuclear detonations in the upper atmosphere high above North America would fry much of the electrical grid as it currently exists....the person stating that the entire continent could be thrown back 150 years in less than 10 seconds.
Does this sound plausible?
No. First, most electronics would survive. Second, if you knew there was an incoming nuke and this might happen, the easiest way to first respond is simply go out and throw the breaker for your home's power. That will reduce the surge to just what actually hits your panel, and if all of the breakers are open, even less will carry through your house's wiring. The majority will travel straight to ground.
If you have some warning, unplugging devices and wrapping them in tin foil or placing them in an electro-static bag and grounding them will be sufficient to protect them like 95% of the time.
Also, not all electronics are equally sensitive. not even all integrated circuits are. The most vulnerable are FET's and MOSFETS along with very dense, small IC circuits like computer chips. Something like an op amp chip probably won't be effected at all.