Without that government-mandated system, and "guarantee", there would have been no commercial development in the US. Also, it's notable that this system covers both accidents and decommissioning.
I'd be a lot more comfortable with further nuclear development if worn-out plants had actually been decommissioned, and not just mothballed. And if there were a coherent plan for waste disposal.
So apparently the politics behind Nevada is a bit more scewed.
Note that recycling appears to be a rather intensive process returning material that could be used for power production but is also not of superior quality.
Technically it can put aside money while it operates: this either makes it somewhat scarce now to the benefit of current capital holders, or this encourages injection of fresh money by the central banks.
Then if in a few generations away something goes wrong and the stash of money is released it devalues money by buying up labor manhours (thus making manhours scarcer for all the holders of capital in the future).
Of course no is a perfectly viable answer, but so is yes.
So why not nuclear plants that are safe enough to be viable without them?
Maybe they'd be able to recover funds in court, that's an expensive lengthy process that doesn't address immediate concerns. And it further encourages the owners into more unsafe actions to try and hide any misdeeds.
>>> For example, the authors recommend that policymakers should avoid premature closures of existing plants, which undermine efforts to reduce emissions and increase the cost of achieving emission reduction targets
are they actual "premature" closures ? In my country, they do everything they can to extend the life of the nuclear reactors waaaaaaaay past their expiration (150% of the planned life --- which looks like almost criminal; but I can't judge; I am not a nuclear expert)
"Global electricity consumption is on track to grow 45 percent by 2040, and the team’s analysis shows that the exclusion of nuclear from low-carbon scenarios could cause the average cost of electricity to escalate dramatically."
Yet, the reason why nuclear is dying in the Western world is cost. Which is actually admitted in
"The researchers find that changes in reactor construction are needed to usher in an era of safer, more cost-effective reactors, including proven construction management practices that can keep nuclear projects on time and on budget."
So we need to do to changes to arrive at something that's economical? But the nuclear industry has been trying to do this for years and failed.
Maybe it's just me, but I think a prudent conclusion is that fission is dying because it's really, really difficult to build something a team of engineers who are experts in the field consider safe enough to prevent disasters. Greenpeace et al. has no say in safety designs for reactors as far as I can tell, that's a red herring.
Some people think that serial production of smaller reactors are key. But then why didn't the industry have this epiphany many years ago? Instead they're building larger and larger plants. I remain sceptical.
You'll get no argument from me that if the government needs to give cash handouts then the plant shouldn't go ahead.
That being said, we need to distinguish between the cost of building a plant that is:
* Safer than what we are currently using (which I'd see as inherent)
* Compliant with government regulations (which I think are often unreasonable and unnecessary)
There is pretty convincing circumstantial evidence that nuclear power is safer than fossil fuels (eg, less risk in the mining process, less deaths per watt ). There is also evidence that governments response to nuclear accidents is, if not hysterical, disorganised and overzealous .
Now the marginal cost of small increases in safety, once you are under as much scrutiny as the nuclear industry, is huge. I've worked in safe industry and the costs were already high. If we'd been held to the same standards as a nuclear plant we would have gone out of business in a few years.
Nuclear operations are facing a real risk of being held liable for hypothetical deaths of unknown individuals based on highly uncertain modeling and theory. They have big up-front costs, and are vulnerable to all sorts of political attacks. We haven't really shaken the tree to figure out how cost-effectivly these things can be run with modern control systems and design software.
 http://i.imgur.com/EkYYLRh.png - not really a source, I remember reading this in a fairly well known NYTimes article though.