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Transformers Expose Limits in Securing U.S. Power Grid

"The U.S. electric grid could take months to recover from a physical attack due to the difficulty in replacing one of its most critical components," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The glue that holds the grid together is a network of transformers, the hulking gray boxes of steel and copper that weigh up to 800,000 pounds and make it possible to move power long distances. Transformers were badly damaged in an attack on a California substation last year, and government reports have warned for years that saboteurs could cause sustained damage to the grid by targeting the massive machines."

"Only a handful of companies build transformers in the U.S., and it can take weeks or months to ship transformers in from overseas. The manufacturing process itself can last more than a year, in part because a transformer can't be bought off the shelf but rather must be made to measure for its substation."

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