The entire nuclear power program has been shut down in Japan, at least for now. Japanese citizens demanded it. Contrast that to the United States, where citizen demands to shut down nuclear reactors fell on Barack Obama's deaf ears. Not only has the President failed to shut down plants, he has authorized building new ones. Of course to a large degree any U.S. President is just a puppet of the corporate security state, which is heavily invested in nuclear power and weapons.
When democracies fail to act in a democratic manner there is going to be a reaction. Usually this is in the form of protests, like the anti-nuclear rallies of yore or the current Occupy actions. Some times incumbent politicians are successfully removed from office. Some times, however, a few people will actually try to do what it takes to stop evil in its tracks.
On May 7, 2012 the Olga Cell of the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front (a grand title for a group that probably has at best dozens of active members) shot Roberto Adinolfi in the leg as a warning to stop his activities. Adinolfi is the CEO of the Italian firm Ansaldo Nucleare, which specializes in engineering for nuclear reactors. The action took place in Genoa, Italy.
The American corporate security state long ago declared Earth Liberation Front (ELF) a terrorist group. ELF (actually autonomous individuals using ELF as a sort of trade name) has a non-violence code and has never harmed a human being, limiting itself to sabotaging equipment used to destroy the environment.
Without a doubt any extension of IAF-IRF to the United States will have broad repercussions. Against the slight possibility that the citizens of the U.S. will wake up and force their "representatives" to shut down nuclear power plants must be weighed the probability that the FBI, our national political police, will be used to hammer the entire anarchist movement.
Given human nature, some individual anarchists, or perhaps even small groups, are likely to imitate the IAF-IRF at some point. Given the nature of our government, the FBI will target mentally unstable individuals, entrap them, and declare they have earned their paychecks.
What is interesting about the United States is that it is very easy to obtain and carry ordinary weapons (guns and rifles) without violating the law. Explosives are another matter entirely. Only the government and corporations can legally possess and transport explosives.
Also, I would not assume any true believers in anarchism and environmentalism would choose to target the nuclear industry. Often local issues — the protection of local fauna, forests and streams — engender more passion than big issues like global warming or radioactive contamination.
It is notable that, as far as I can tell, only one IAF-IRF group, the Olga Cell, is fighting against the nuclear industry. The others have been fighting nanotechnology research. Others is a strong term here, as the only nation that has seen attacks is Mexico. Two bombing attacks against nanotech research centers there each resulted in one person being seriously injured.
The easiest way to ease concerns would be for President Obama to close all U.S. nuclear power plants. In individual states their governors or legislators could shut down the reactors. Since the Democratic Party has failed to take an anti-nuclear stance, those who participate in the electoral system will probably want to vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, this fall.
Nanotechnology is a tricky subject because it is so broad. Science-fiction nanotechnology tends to tiny robots eating bigger machines or turning humans into monsters. Since nano just means small, it encompasses everything from the processes used to produce the chips in the IPhone and IPad, to re-engineering naturally occurring viruses, to the production of tiny particles used in paints and inks. Opposing nanotechnology seems to be just a slant on opposing all technology.
The U.S. government and private corporations have spent a lot of energy targeting anarchist and environmentalist activists. The fact that anarchists and environmentalists have not shot back is probably due to our naturally non-violent nature and the semblance of democracy that always promises, and even occasionally delivers, reform. If lines harden everyone will need to chose sides. With the Republican Party, bankrolled by extremist capitalists, pushing our system ever to the right, I do not see a good outcome ahead.
Disclaimer: the author is an advocate of democracy, anarcho-syndicalism and eco-anarchism. The factual content of this story is derived from mainstream media sources, notably "Anarchists attack science" by Leigh Phillips, p. 561 of Volume 485 of Nature, May 31, 2012. The opinions are his own.