By Rebecca Smith (2014, March 4) The Wall Street Journal, A1, A8:
"The US electric grid could take months to recover from a physical attack due to the difficulty in replacing one of its most critical components. The glue that holds the grid together is a network of transformers...."
Majia here: The transformers weigh up to 800,000 pounds and are very challenging to move long distances. Moreover, only a few companies actually build them in the US and their production can take more than a year.
Solar flares could take down grids and transformers. See the National Geographic account here.
Our complex and interdependent society would experience significant failures in the event of a massive and sustained power outage.
These failures might be survivable if it were not for nuclear power plants.
In this video, nuclear engineers Mr Arnie Gunderson and David Lochbaum discuss how vulnerable nuclear power plants are to electrical disruptions. Their analysis even addresses the many vulnerabilities of the "back-up" generators
A scenario of prolonged power outages would very likely lead to nuclear meltdowns and spent fuel pool fires. This is not a survivable scenario for human civilization.
Nuclear 'energy' and waste make our entire species vulnerable to sudden extinction.