In theory, electricity is the greenest way to apply energy to our daily tasks of moving stuff around, powering devices, etc. And in theory nuclear power is a green way to grab that energy. But the waste storage problem hasn’t been solved, and the accidents are dramatically horrendous. Having moved to a country where 75% of the electicity is already nuclear, and where the President is bullish on the future of nuclear, including the next generation of mini-plants (mini in the sense of being about 1/6th the size of current plants, but they still can service a million people), I have to give the matter some thought.
I want to believe that there’s more to the question than simply whether one would prefer to die by radiation poisoning over being baked to death by global warming. I do know from a personal anecdote that, considered as an engineering problem, creating a small and relatively safe nuclear reactor is a solved question.
I had a best friend in college who went from being a fellow hippie to being the nuclear powerplant officer on a US Navy submarine. He told me that the American approach was to make the shielding and safety measures on the submarine so strict that a seaman would have less exposure to radiation on a two-year tour of duty than he or she would have living in a brick basement in the Midwest. The Soviet approach at the time was to limit a sailor to one tour of duty, because at the end of that time they would have received a lifetime maximum dosage.