Is the costs. The huge economic losses incurred in only a matter of days are the last thing the lobbyists are going to mention, but these losses are a major driving force, just as they were after Three Mile Island.
Just to tick off some of the most important cost factors here: there’s the capital cost of the plants, and those associated with replacing the lost power; cleanup and decontamination costs; costs of potential lawsuits down the road; and medical and health costs. Billions. Tens of billions of dollars.
After the accident at Three Mile Island, the nuclear power industry went dormant for decades; not because of demonstrated health effects, although there are difference of opinion on whether there were large health effects or not; but because the money behind the industry bailed. You just don’t lose billions of dollars in an instant and remain standing. Capitalism doesn’t work that way!
Should our government put guarantees behind it’s recent emphasis on nuclear power? I would think that the Tea Partiers and their conservative and libertarian brethren would be mightily against that. But I could be wrong, especially if their allegiance stems from donations.