OK, you knew this topic was coming, what with what is happening in Japan right now. I thought it better discussed here rather than General Chat - because of it's inherently controversial nature.
I was going to label the topic nuclear power, but didn't want to limit the discussion to electrical power generation.
A little of my background may help set the stage. Nuclear science has made a major impact on my life and the area in which I live (New Mexico, USA). Millions of years ago, uranium was deposited in substantial quantities in this part of the country. Some 60 years ago, the US military set up a lab in a remote place called Los Alamos to pursue the Manhattan Project. As a result of this project, the first atomic bomb was detonated in 1945 at a place now known as the Trinity Site
. This is about 100 miles from where I currently live. Some 30 years ago, I had a job as a geologist at a uranium mine. Since then I have worked primarily as an environmental scientist, trying to clean up after people and keep the world a somewhat decent place to live.
There are several things we all have in common here:
1) We all use electricity - to power our computers and the internet, at least
2) We all live in a world where nuclear science impacts our lives, through power generation, military weapons, and medicine to name a few ways
3) We all care to a greater or lesser extent, or we wouldn't be here reading this drivel
So let the discussion begin. Is this a Pandora that should never have been let out of the box? Could it have ever been kept in the box? Is it worth the cost?