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October 8, 2013

Electrical Surges At Data Center Causing Headache for NSA

National Security Agency photo

Major electrical surges have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage at the National Security Agency’s new $1.5-billion data center in Utah.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the surges destroyed equipment at the Bluffdale center, causing completion of the facility to be pushed back by about a year.

This is not the first time such surges have occurred. According to the report, 10 electrical surges have occurred in the last 13 months, melting metal and blowing circuits in power and cooling systems.

The NSA’s center is rumored to not only surpass the size of Google’s largest data center, but is to have the capacity to store 100,000 times as much data as all of the printed materials in the Library of Congress. Exactly how much data the agency will be able to store there, however, is classified.

One project official told the WSJ the electrical issues are like “a flash of lightning inside a two-foot box,” creating fiery explosions that can melt metal and cause circuits to stop working.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation and, according to the WSJ, there is some doubt about if the proposed fixes will work. One Utah project official told the WSJ the NSA was planning this week to turn on some of its computers at the new center.