If people were serious about ACTUALLY reducing carbon emissions, then baseload power production would be nuclear.
Please look at France as an example.
France: 5.0 metric tons per capita (2013)
US: 16.4 metric tons per capita (2013)
Nuclear power is the largest source of electricity in the country, with a generation of 416.8 TWh, or 76.3% of the country's total production of 546 TWh, the highest percentage in the world.
They're unbelievably capital intensive and have a mean construction time of 7.5 years . I'm from the UK so it's easy to point to Hinkley Point C as an example of this. It's been in planning for a decade and certainly won't be in operation for a similar amount of time, and the currently proposed strike price is around £90/MWh, compared to the ~£60/MWh we've seen from offshore wind projects. Let alone mentioning those have the advantage of being independently deployable with how developers can generate income on a per-turbine basis rather than waiting for the entire farm to be constructed.
And while nuclear is certainly much less CO2 intensive than any fossil-fuel source even a pro-nuclear body's publication shows that wind produces approximately as much CO2/GWh over an installations lifetime as nuclear does .
 http://www.world-nuclear.org/uploadedFiles/org/WNA/Publicati... section 4
How about in space or on other planets?
> And while nuclear is certainly much less CO2 intensive than any fossil-fuel source even a pro-nuclear body's publication shows that wind produces approximately as much CO2/GWh over an installations lifetime as nuclear does.
And what if it's not windy?
Keep in mind, almost ALL the nuclear power plants built are based on 1950-1960s technology (designed for naval applications). That would be like comparing solar panels from that era with the panels designed/produced today. There is no comparison.
Solar struggles to provide a significant amount of energy in winter. Wind tends to blow or not for a few days or more at a time - meaning you need much more storage than just to carry you from one day to the next as you might in places with consistent solar.
I can't find any good source of UK historical generation data, but from looking at gridwatch the UK patterns tend to be similar to those in Germany, the data for which are available here: https://www.energy-charts.de/power.htm?source=solar-wind&mon...
There's a slight inverse correlation between solar and wind, but not that much.
I'd love to see a lot more renewable capacity installed as soon as possible, but I don't see how we can move away from needing a lot of backup conventional capacity in the near future. This is okay by me; let's halve our emissions and then see what we can do next.
Exactly. Nuclear plants are done, at least for the next 50 years.
People don't want nuclear plants, whatever the reason. I can see the case for continued nuke research, but the negative PR and scare factor is pretty insurmountable.
The coal industry had decades to invest in technology to make clean coal happen, and decided margins were more important.
Fracking will be the next victim, as more communities start to ban it and understanding of the negatives grows.
Same with hydro, at least in the US. We're only starting to understand the long-term effects of large dams.
I know there are tradeoffs with solar and wind. The eco cost of solar isn't zero from a production standpoint. There are downsides to living directly under a wind turbine. But the decreased cost and increased adoption of solar and wind give me hope that we have a chance at staving off cataclysmic climate change.
Also, this past December, the entire Pacific Northwest experienced a 10-day total wind lull and the 4GWe of capacity in the Bonneville Power Administration generated ~0 kWh. Backing that up alone would require a battery facility covering a football field 100 stories high and costing $90B that has to be replaced every dozen years. Now scale that by a few thousand and see how it looks. Baseload carbon-free energy from nukes is very valuable.
Look at the failure of VC Summer, and what seems to be the imminent failure of Vogtle.
Since no private company is willing to take on the financial risk of building nuclear power, the federal government provides massive loan guarantees. For the "nuclear renaissance" to take place, state governments passed special laws so that the utility's rate payers took on all the risk of the failed builds. And the failed VC Summer build in South Carolina accounts for double digit percentages of current electricity bills for the utility's customers.
If somebody can figure out how to do project management, engineering, and the logistics of construction, there are lots of communities eager to welcome nuclear. But the industry has failed to deliver capacity even when given every opportunity to build.
The best bet for nuclear in the US seems to be to have South Korea take over entirely. But they will then have to manage a US construction force, with all those risks. I really don't see how the industry is ever going to build a new big reactor ever again in the US. That's why nuclear fans are looking towards small modular reactors, an idea that in the past was considered less economical than the big ones.
The other risk of putting all your eggs in one basket by large deploys is the same design is what's happening right now in France with the "carbon segregation" problem:
20 plants are down, on the suspicion of a potential problem in the future. These types of problems are expected for any technology, but by having a very little variety in generation, any such small problem gets hugely amplified.
In general I have not found anybody who sees a path to building new nuclear in the US that does not simultaneously require a huge advancement in new tech. Solving the construction problem and the bad management problem is something that's swept under the rug and ignored in order to promote a favored tech.
The only plant being constructed in the U.S. right now is fraught with cost overruns; the builder, Toshiba, nearly went out of business. A plant that came online in Tennessee in 2016 was started in 1976.
The Minerals Council of Australia shows that the current worldwide uranium usage is increasing by about 4.8% p.a., projected to hit 97,900 tons in 2020. 
This will give us a little over 60 years until almost all of the economical sources of uranium are consumed, assuming conventional reactors.
Considering that timeframe along with the fact that plants take 7-15 years to bring online if they're started now, and the fact that they have dismal returns on investment, means there's little appetite for nuclear for economic reasons.
Also there hasn't been a lot of success with building any modern plants (technical issues and massive cost overrun, check the "Technical overview" section of the wiki page).
There's a lot of irrational fear about nuclear energy. An example is Germany (9.2 metric ton per capita) which decided to shutdown their nuclear facilities.
Yes, they replaced it with coal plants...
(2) Renewable + pumped hydro is much more expensive that just producing electricity directly from nuclear. The environmental impact of dam failures is also bigger than that of an nuclear accident.
For example the Banqiao+Shimantan dam failure killed 110,000, displaced 6,000,000. For comparison Chernobyl killed 9,000 to 93,000 (probably closer to the lower end) and displaced ~130,000.
Coal 100,000 (US: 10,000)
Nat. Gas 4,000
Hydro 1,400 (US: 5)
Nuclear 90 (US: 0.1)