The flowchart above illustrates one process through which we could collectively evaluate the desirability of nuclear power, given the potential risks and benefits associated with the technology. In my personal opinion, the answer to the first question is probably “yes,” though perhaps not to as large a degree as commonly believed. The second and third questions are much more up in the air, and necessarily involve uncertainty. We cannot know exactly what will be involved in building a massive new nuclear architecture before it is done; similarly, it cannot be known with certainty what would result from choosing conservation and renewables instead.
As for the third question, there are major questions about risk evaluation and risk tolerance. If the world keeps running nuclear plants, it is a statistical certainty that we will eventually have another serious nuclear accident. No nuclear state is without its contaminated sites, and none yet has a geological repository for wastes.
This post definitely isn’t mean to settle the question initially posed, but rather to clarify thinking on the issue and dismiss the automatic logical leap from “climate change is happening” to “build more fission plants.”