The Economist has a lengthy article on the future of nuclear energy, which concludes
… Distressing though it is, the crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi is not in itself a reason for the world to change energy policy. The public-health effects seem likely, in the long run, to be small. …
The trouble is, it ain’t over until it’s over. It will take a long time to learn what those public health effects will be. Not to mention determining the costs of this accident, and that sticky, and exceedingly dismal, issue of who will pay them. But they have a weekly magazine to publish, and they have to sound positive or what’s an economist to do?
They also point out that, with respect to alternatives,
you cannot be sure that the wind will blow or the sun will shine to order.
But, by the same token, they cannot be sure that we will not harness workable storage methods, thus negating this dismal thinking.
It’s also downright dismal that they don’t get into how the US can radically lower it’s overall energy consumption by doing some proper land use planning linked to effective public transportation systems. That should eliminate needs for shale gas and all the environmental consequences it entails, while eliminating the need for any more nuclear power plants as well.