A large-scale and prolonged power blackout: a national disaster

Public expert discussion on 25 May 2011 on the threats and vulnerabilities of modern societies

In a joint public event of the Home Affairs and Research Committees, the results of the TAB project "Hazards and vulnerability in modern societies – using the example of a large-scale outage in the electricity supply" will be presented and discussed with experts and the interested public.

In recent years, power failures in Europe and North America have given a lasting impression of the vulnerability of modern societies. Although the interruption of the power supply lasted at most one week and occurred locally, massive functional and supply disruptions, threats to public order as well as damages amounting to billions of euros became apparent. In the event of a widespread and prolonged power blackout, these effects would be expected to multiply, with dramatic consequences.

In view of the catastrophic potential of such a power blackout, the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) was commissioned to conduct a systematic impact analysis. The aim was to investigate how a prolonged and widespread power blackout could affect society and its critical infrastructures, and how prepared Germany is for such a large-scale disaster.

TAB's impact analyses have shown that after just a few days in the affected area, it is no longer possible to ensure that the population is supplied with (essential) goods and services in line with demand. The TAB report provides indications of the efforts required to increase the sustainability of critical infrastructures and to further optimise the capacities of the national disaster management system. Sensitivity to this issue should also be increased in the economy and among the population.

The results of TAB's investigations will be presented and discussed with experts and the interested public in a joint public expert discussion of the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment and the Committee on the Interior.

The public expert discussion will take place on 25 May 2011 from 3.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. in conference room E 300 of the Paul Löbe Building, Platz der Republik.


Further information and downloads:

blackout stromausfall Martin Müller/pixelio
What happens during a blackout