First, I'd like to apologize for dropping off. I was out of town and forgot my laptop. Now let's get back to business.
I'm not a supporter of nuclear energy. I feel the risks are too great and I think it is too expensive. I think the electrical supply system should move to a distributed generation model. Similar to how the internet has given everyone, even me, a way to create content. With distributed generation, every home, for example, has solar panels and/or a small wind turbine. Everything is tied to the grid and power is spread around where it needs to go. Power plants will still be necessary but combining this distributed model with conservation could eliminate the need for nuclear plants. If each home can generate half of it's own electricity use plus cut consumption the need for new plants could disappear. Some techniques/technology for supply management would need to be implemented to compensate for the intermittent nature of solar and wind but I think it is achievable. What about costs? I think per kw solar may be 10 times more expensive then nuclear on pure capital outlay. However, lifetime costs for waste management related to the toxic waste generated by nuclear power and operating costs probably level the playing field. I'll be honest and say I haven't looked extensively at it because there is a lot of number crunching involved and I'm sure a think tank has done it somewhere. I did find a nuclear vs coal comparison that shows some of the costs associated with nuclear. I look forward to the day that electricity is generated in a distributed model. Taxpayers have subsidized a significant amount of the infrastructure so we should use it. Transmission costs and that infrastructure will still need to be supported in some manner. A complex issue but we really have to start looking at all the options so we can come up with positive solutions.