The controversy embroiling nuclear power rests on international headlines about disasters at Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island. Possibly thousands eventually died after Chernobyl, which had no containment vessel. Cancers were associated with the other disasters in relatively small numbers. Meanwhile nearly 20% of US electricity comes from nuclear power plants running without incident for years. The same is true internationally where over 400 plants continue to produce electricity with very small carbon footprints.
It seems unwise to shutdown these plants before we know for sure that fossil fuels are being replaced effectively with renewables. Currently the US, Russia, and China are all resorting to oil, natural gas, and coal to meet their economic demands for cheaper energy while contributing marginally to reducing greenhouse emissions. We are far short of commitments to reducing carbon in the atmosphere on a scale needed to slow global warming enough to avoid major tipping points beyond which we lose the ability to stop current warming trends. The result will be increasingly frequent and more lethal weather events like droughts, wild fires, hurricanes, floods, and heat waves. Stay tuned and open-minded as we struggle to deal with the economic cancer that is the global fossil fuel economy.