I'd like to start a discussion/debate of nuclear power for the purpose of informing people about it. I am participating in a thread in another forum http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=9370 where we are discussing an article about Germany planning to phase out nuclear power. I am STRONGLY against this. It is bad for scientific, economic, political, and environmental reasons. In the course of discussions of the nuclear power issue, it seems to me that the arguements against nuclear power are based primarily on ignorance and emotion. I'm all for open scientific debate, but on this particular subject, I tend to take the approach of educating, not strictly debating. If that comes off as arrogant, I apologize, but this is a remarkably straightforward issue when you get down to the science of it. So, to start off, a few facts: -The US has roughly 98 million kW of nuclear generation capacity in roughly 100 plants and runs at about 90% load. -For comparison, the US has about 4 thousand kW of wind capacity and that doubles about every other year. -Virtually all new generation capacity in the US is from oil. -The US has not started construction on a single nuclear plant since Three Mile Island about 20 years ago. -According to the WHO, air pollution kills 70,000 people in the US every year and affects virtually everyone. -electric power generation is the leading producer of air pollution in the US. -HALF of the electricity in the US comes from COAL. -No civilian has ever been killed as a result of nuclear power in the US (TMI was the worst accident and a long term study produced no statistically significant increase in cancer rates). -Chernobyl killed roughly 50 people and injured/sickened maybe 1000, including long-after cancers (I had no idea it was that low, so http://www.vanderbilt.edu/radsafe/9604/msg00651.html is where I found that). To me, the evidence is so enormously strong in favor of re-activating our nuclear power program, it should be self-evident. Clearly however, nuclear power is all but dead in the US and indeed much of the world. I'd also like to discuss research. There has been nuclear power research done over the past 20 years (though not much because of TMI). Pebble-bed reactors for example have potential to be both easy to service and virtually melt-down proof. I'd like to hear of other technologies.