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I thought EMP affected electronics regardless of whether they are powered at the time of the burst or not?

Perhaps the idea is to disengage delicate circuitry from long potentially antenna like circuits.

You can harden your circuits against EMP, it's just expensive and almost universally unnecessary. Almost.

EMP generally refers to the radio-frequency flash. This device is for the ionizing radiation flash -- gamma rays, x-rays, and neutrons -- that can be extremely damaging to devices that are powered on. For example, the ionizing radiation can cause power transistors to turn on unconditionally, which can fire rockets, burn out power converters, and so forth.

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