Angeline Loh replied 5th Mar '15:
Nuclear energy is one of the world's greatest discoveries. It did prove its use as a deterrent during the Cold War and before that the discovery and use of the atomic bomb that ended the Second World War. Since then, the research and development of nuclear science has moved beyond military defense purposes, to serve more constructive purposes in the civilian arena e.g. production of electricity and nuclear medicine among others. For a time, until the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, nuclear energy was perceived as one of the most efficient, clean and environmentally friendly power sources. This was a widespread belief which governments adopted and supporters of nuclear energy touted unreservedly. However, even in its glory days, critics of nuclear power, cautioned the global community, especially residents of countries which had set up nuclear installations for energy production, to consider the downsides of nuclear energy. Documented cases of the effects of the presence of high levels of radiation around nuclear plants on local residents living close to and in the area around were publicized. Similarly, cases of people and wild life affected by the fallout from nuclear tests carried out in desserts or apparently remote locations appeared from time to time in the local and international media. News of radioactive leakages from nuclear plants, also emerged. Nonetheless, these were generally quickly dismissed, possibly due to the preponderance of vested interests and enormous financial input sunk into such large technological projects. However, research and development in nuclear science continues even after the tragedies of Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi (2011).
Despite these advances, fears of the downsides of nuclear energy still out-weigh its utility for civilian or military purpose. The root of this continued suspicion and wariness of nuclear energy lies mainly in the distrust of human judgment and integrity which have been proven in recent history.
See this 2013 report from the Guardian -
Keya Acharya replied 23rd Feb '15:
Nuclear energy is a mixed bag of results. The accident at Fukushima has been a warning for several countries to phase out their nuclear energy systems (see Germany's current status as eg.).
I think the question of safety in nuclear installations as well as of installation and operational costs are very important when deciding on the practicality nuclear energy.
The ideal situation would be to use renewable energy as much as is possible, following which to integrate a mix of energy systems.