Tom Zeller of the Huffington Post provides a very good perspective on why nuclear power is necessary to the future of human civilization -- and why it's currently a problem.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't
Key elements of his work:
"In an analysis published last year, the International Energy Agency suggested that a wholesale divestment from nuclear power would be precisely the wrong move at a time when greenhouse gas emissions are increasingly out of control. Movements away from nuclear power, after all, would in large part be met with increased use of carbon-intensive sources like coal and natural gas, according to the agency's chief economist, Fatih Birol.
Increasing deployment of renewable power sources like wind and solar, as well as improvements in energy efficiency, are vitally important, of course, but many of the world's experts believe that such measures are, by themselves, not enough to tackle the climate imperative facing the planet. "Renewables cannot make it alone," Birol said. "It is not enough."
Precisely right. It's worth reading the whole thing, which discusses well the risks and the economics. I happen to think that, given the problems with large plants (which have led to the permanent shutdown of a couple of plants), that the way to go is the mini-nuclear plant. I think that this also helps control the problem of waste, as the fuel can be self-contained in what essentially becomes a plug-in, pull-out mode, and then you just truck the fuel cylinder to a repository.
Local mini-nukes would work sort of like the way that the Japanese use incinerators. As local power sources, they have around 20 (here's another perspective). So my motto might be, "A nuke in every backyard". Catchy, eh?