Nuclear’s failure states are pretty awful, see Chernobyl, Fukushima for disasters, but just (something I learned as a kid) the Irish Sea being quite significantly radioactively polluted through normal operation of plants in the area.
Also, Chernobyl is not a Gen4 reactor, the core design of RBMK reactor was highly unstable, and that the problem with anti-nuclear lobbying: we're stuck with old design we have since learned a lot from.
Got any figures for that? Higher than the ecological cost of dumping radioactive stuff into the pacific, or polluting the Irish sea?
As someone who might last another 40 years, but is hoping his kids last another 60 to 80, I'm OK if the cost is monetary in 30 years, as opposed to ecologically over that time.
> Also, Chernobyl is not a Gen4 reactor
Was Fukushima though?
Assuming a 15W per sqft, and an average weight of 3lb per sqft, and assuming the output of a nuclear power plant is around 1GW, you'll need about 9e+4T of solar panel that you're gonna need to recycle over a lifespan of 40 years. Just the volume of this waste is 4.5e+3 truck load, and I'm not even getting started about recycling the silicon cells themselves (ie. very nasty chemicals), and all this is just about 1 equivalent plants. US wide, you'd probably need 200x this (to be significant), plus a 5x extra capacity to deal with fluctuation and non-peak production, that's another 3 order of magnitude. You also need to factor into account a redesign of the grid to accomodate with the mesh production, and the extra battery on each site.
Compare this to burying a few hundreds tons per year of low volume wastes for ~eternity in a cave in the middle of nowhere.
> Was Fukushima though?
No, Fukushima used BWR design from the 1060's, so geneneration 2.
Wow, animal-powered nuclear fission? These Heian period horse-drawn neutron beams were pretty ahead of their time though.