John Whitehead wrote:
"My pride about coal? It is a cheap energy source that powers the homes of millions. A bunch of my friends grew up and went to college on coal money, etc. There are benefits and costs to the stuff. "
Interesting. Here is my version:
"My pride about nuclear fission? It is a cheaper energy source than coal that powers the homes and businesses of millions, even though there are people alive today who were adults when the basic phenomenon was discovered. I grew up and went to school partially on nuclear money - my dad was not involved in nuclear energy himself, but the company that employed him, Florida Power and Light, owned built and operated four nuclear reactors. My children also grew up and went to school on nuclear money; I have served as the Engineer Officer of a nuclear powered submarine and still get a tidy bonus every year because of my nuclear training.
My granddaughter is now starting the process of growing up on nuclear money; her dad is also a nuclear trained submarine officer who recently completed his qualifications as an engineer officer.
I recognize that there are costs and benefits, but the benefits heavily outweigh the costs. By the way, I did not get involved in nuclear technology because it happened to be the local business where I did not have any choice in the matter. I have always done pretty well in school, earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in subjects other than nuclear energy, and have plenty of other choices on how to make a living.
One more thing - not only is fission cheaper than coal, but it is clean enough to run inside a sealed submarine."
For those who wonder what to do with used fuel after 50, 100, or 150 years - if it has not already been recycled into new fuel and other valuable materials, simply keep inspecting the containers being used. If they show signs of wear or corrosion, fix them or replace them. The material gets easier to handle every day as the radiation decays away.
If you have ever studied economics, you can figure out that costs that are far into the future can be discounted heavily in today's dollars.