In America, why go nuclear over coal (or bio-mass, or alternative fuel sources)? We have plenty of coal, the cost of the coal plant is much cheaper, and a coal plant won't fail catastrophically and ruin the environment for hundreds of years (or longer).
The only "pro" I see to nuclear power is the claim that it is "clean energy", which is not true. The pollution for a nuclear power plant doesn't come out of the exhaust stacks like it does for coal, but it does comes out in other ways.
We still have no idea what to do with the spent fuel, so it's currently sitting in concrete bunkers at the facilities around the country. This material remains radioactive for well beyond any of our lifetimes, so the more we use, the more it's going to keep piling-up. Mind you, it's one of the cooling ponds for spent fuel rods that was over heating and causing fires in one of the Japanese power plants, not the reactor itself.
Aside from storage, there's the health risks and environmental issues of mining the Uranium.Uranium Mining a Health Risk
“All radiation is cumulative, every small amount of radiation you get adds to your susceptibility to cancer.”
Having watched two people in my life die of cancer in there mid thirties, I don't want to add to everyone's cancer risk when we've got gobs of coal.
Coal mining isn't great for the atmosphere, I'm sure, but neither is mining for Uranium...
“With uranium mining you have to dig up hundreds of thousand of tones of ore and rock to discover the uranium. It is then crushed which produces more CO2.SKODA Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage
“This is a very energy consuming process, to enrich the uranium."
Once it has been removed from the reactor, spent fuel must be first safely stored in a spent fuel storage pool and then later on in a so-called interim storage facility. The first group of technology includes compact storage racks, which serve for short-term “wet” storage of spent nuclear fuel for a period of 5-7 years. The second group includes transport and storage casks, which serve for medium-term “dry” storage of spent fuel for a period of several tens of years.
“Several tens of years.” That’s some weird English. They either mean several hundred years or several thousand, but “several ten’s” sure doesn’t sound as bad... they must've used a creative marketing firm to come-up with this verbiage.
For those countries that haven't thought of an alternative to nuclear power, I guess they'll have to deal with the potential consequences. But in the U. S. of A., I think we can do better.