Nuclear is a great technology that I think was delivered too soon to consumer power generation. The Generation II and earlier reactor designs are just too prone to problems here and there if anything goes wrong, and a lot of little minor shit problems that are endemic at all power plants matter can cascade into a big problem at a nuclear plant.
My understanding is the Generation III reactors, of which only a small handful have been brought online around the world, are what I think should be powering as many things as possible. When these reactors lose coolant for some reason (this is the primary scenario that leads to a serious problem with nuclear power plants) they are designed to naturally kill the reaction over time–so there is no possibility of a runaway reaction.
That leaves nuclear waste–spent fuel waste has always been a problem but burying it deep underground and transporting it in safe containers has always been a pretty reasonable solution, people have just been too crazy to let that happen in a reasonable way. Minor groundwater contamination can usually be mitigated and is often in amounts so small as to be meaningless. There was some groundwater contamination at a nuclear plant here in America a few weeks ago and the State environmental regulators and local college professors said that it almost certainly hadn’t made it into aquifers or streams that people drink from, and if it had made it far enough that it’d reach the nearby river it’d be in such small amounts that it’d be “undetectable.”
Personally I think the installed nuclear base is fine, but we shouldn’t install anymore Generation II reactors when Generation III reactor designs have now been brought to production. I actually supported the deployment of the older reactors too–and still stand by that, I think they present risks but at a “acceptable level”, the problem is I recognize the public at large disagrees with me–and they react to a very high degree over any problem at a nuclear power plant, so from a functional perspective I think Gen IIs were fine, but from a PR perspective they’ve done irreparable harm to the nuclear industry in America.
All that being said, I think solar farms may be the real answer now that technology has gotten them up to a competitive level and they show far more ability to be built out versus wind. Storage technology is still a problem, of course, and I still think nuclear has a part to play in being our “only on” solution. What will really happen is it’ll likely be natural gas that fills that role (and methane is a greenhouse gas with a much stronger immediate effect than carbon, but has a much longer lifetime in the atmosphere), which is fine I guess–but nuclear would be better for controlling global warming. Eventually battery technology will advance to the point where solar is without a need for much “reserve generating capacity” from other sources. Wind will be a niche player / regional player, it’ll make a lot of sense in some places and at some sites but solar I think is the bigger scale answer.