Recently, a huge solar emission struck a glancing blow to the geomagnetic field. No significant damage resulted.
However, the NOAA expects four "extreme" solar emissions will strike our magnetic field during this decade. Solar emissions are expected to peak in 2013.
In the event of a direct hit on the geomagnetic field, NASA estimates grid collapse in most of the Eastern part of the nation, as well as the Northwest, lasting for weeks.
It is little realized that nuclear plants have only two days of emergency power. If the grid fails, after that, each nuclear power plant becomes a source of a serious radioactive release.
See http://www.aesopinstitute.org for a couple of maps that highlight the danger.
Attacking the problem opens the way to accelerate decentralization of energy.
Cheap green systems are en-route to market. See for example the E-Cat on the same website. It promises power for a penny per kilowatt hour. The fuel for small multi-kilowatt modules is $100 worth of Nickel and Hydrogen every six months.
Mobilization to minimize the damage can attract support all across the political spectrum.