Just take a look at e.g. https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Oil_sands_tailings_p... ; apparently creating city-sized lakes of badly contained, liquid, ridiculously toxic, harmful for thousand years sludge is somewhat unremarkable, whereas replacing some of that demand with nuclear can't happen because of orders of magnitude less volume of much easier to handle (and reprocessable in the future) waste is somehow a show-stopper.
A slightly less charitable answer: at these orders of magnitude and potential consequences, it's replacing a bad thing with a "bad thing" in the same way replacing sickness with a vaccine is.
Oil sands are terribly polluting as mentioned (and energy intensive to extract what oil you can), and are expensive to develop. As the use of oil declines (and the price stays below the floor necessary for oil sand production to break even), its unlikely oil sands will be a meaningful amount of oil production as we look to the future. While a positive gesture, at under $100 million its a small one.
I'm happy to hear oil use declines (need to check up on that worldwide, that's extremely surprising - do you perchance mean that the growth rate of oil use is going down?).
 - https://www.iea.org/geco/electricity/
Sure its large compared to my house, but my house isn't worth billions nor does my house power a significant portion of the countries energy needs.
Compare that to the metro region of Calgary: 5,110.21 km squared.
I don't think the main issue is with the nuclear waste. It's with the fact that even though it's possible to build and operate safe nuclear plants, human nature gets in the way and prevents that from happening.
People have managed to do that with airliners, even though flying at 30,000 feet in -40F temps, insufficient oxygen, in a tin balloon filled with gas has nothing inherently safe about it. And yet airline travel is incredibly safe.
I.e. since we can make that safe, we can do that with reactors.
(For contrast, ever wonder how the US got the B-17's to England during WW2? The combat crews, as their first job, flew them there across the Atlantic. My dad (B-17 navigator) said more than a few took off from Newfoundland and were never heard from again. After the war they came back on a ship. Lindbergh came back on a ship, too.)
After significant human process training, the rest of Chernobyl NPP operated till around 2005
"... the switching stations that sent power from these backup generators to the reactors' cooling systems for Units 1 through 5 were still in the poorly protected turbine buildings..."
Sounds like there was still human engineering negligence. Perhaps that can teach us to restrict new reactors inland.
As some have pointed out in this thread, oil sand waste dumps could ultimately be more harmful than nuclear waste...
I see: public employees. Public employee pension funds, in the West, are often some of the largest by country.
Norway's actual largest pension fund, the so-called Oil Fund, is, at > $1 trln. in assets, much larger.
It's the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and owns 1.5% of the world's "stocks and shares" (as Wikipedia puts it) - it's a behemoth.
And how did Norway accumulate all that wealth? North Sea oil.
Whenever I hear "responsible this and that" from Norway, I chuckle. The ironies are rich. It's all fine and good to be responsible this and that once you're as wealthy as Croesus. With a population of 5.26 mln. people, it's sort of like a reasonably sized global metropolis came into a fortune well in excess of a trillion $. Bring on those Teslas.
The thing about Norway is that they were responsible before they were as wealthy as Croesus.
Where did the UK North Sea oil profits go?
Where do the US oil profits go?
Just what do you think a responsible fund should do, significantly beyond what Norway does?
But it is also time they start planning for future when oil runs out or it is banned. The problem is the Norwegian economy still heavily depends on oil income. Huge number of well paid jobs are because of oil sector. All this party will be over once they are dismantled. Since the oil fund is not allowed to to be spent the economy has to go through a radical change. The biggest industry after oil in Norway is fishing! That says something about the economy in Norway.
The consequences of oil free economy on Norway at least as of today would be dire. Taxes will increase unemployment will increase. They will be forced to use oil fund.
>Where do the US oil profits go?
Norway: 5 million people, and 1 trillion dollars in it's oil fund, most of which was from oil profits.
UK: 66 million people. North Sea profited around 1.1B in 2018. It would take 1000 years of this to match Norway, and 12,000 years to do it at per capita rates.
US: 327 million people. In 2018 , total US net oil profits were 28B, which was a good year. To match Norway per capita would take 2200 years of profits.
It's easier to set up a sustainable fund when revenues per capita are orders of magnitude larger.
In theory with UK production ramping up a little earlier in the seventies than Norway, the same investment choices would have made a UK fund slightly larger than Norway's.
From a national perspective it would have been the much better choice to create a national fund in the sixties or seventies, rather than piss it away on nothing as the government actually did.
If the state took control of all oil revenues, then perhaps. But historically countries with the govt taking over such production have not done as well as those with private enterprise. Norway did well. Venezuela not so much. Middle East not so much.
>From a national perspective it would have been the much better choice to create a national fund in the sixties or seventies,
How has that action played out across all countries that tried it? Picking one after the fact that did well while ignoring cases where that action didn't do well is not a good way to push future policy.
No. Norway's oil fund is the surplus from oil taxes and exploration licences. Doesn't need 100% nationalisation, Venezuela or a command and control Supreme Soviet.
The UK Energy Minister proposed a national fund in the sixties, the Treasury agreed, but he was overruled by Cabinet. The remnants of the British National Oil Corporation that was going to be responsible for licences and supply was sold off at huge discount as BritOil in the depth of a recession (now part of BP).
> Picking one after the fact that did well
Or we could simply look at what the UK actually did with the oil dividend. Then conclude that anything else would have been better for the UK. A national fund with zero growth or investment. A fund that makes a 20% loss every year. Simply spend it all on modernising infrastructure every year. Better still, a national fund with a conservative growth strategy. Ideally split between a global fund (the $1.1tn) and a national fund, as the Norwegians did.
Per capita not nearly as much as Norway's $200k each certainly, but $20k per person is hardly chicken feed. Whatever, we'd be far better placed for what comes after the oil. Or have $1.2tn+ to decarbonise the whole economy. Or take some of the load off funding state pensions into the future, with an ageing society...
The USA could have achieved a phenomenal fund over the far longer period of US extraction - started in what, the 1890s, who knows what absurd valuation could have been achieved by now. Or the benefits that would bring to pensions or infrastructure.
You touch on some very difficult topics. You are correct that Iran did not do so well after they nationalized their oil production. That's because the UK entered as trade war with Iran, and the US "CIA arranged a military coup to depose the democratically elected Mosaddegh and install a regime more favorable to the UK." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_Oil_Company .
Additionally, unlike the UK and Norway, most other oil producing countries were under foreign colonial rule, or recently out of colonial rule.