Nuclear power -- a dangerous dinosaur
The far more destructive meltdown at Chernobyl was not enough to convince advocates that nuclear power is inherently unsafe. The Soviet Union was a totalitarian state, with all the corruption, lack of accountability, and other sources of incompetence that that implies. Post-industrial democratic societies could handle the technology safely.
But Japan is a post-industrial democracy, and one of the world's most technologically-advanced countries. It's also an earthquake- conscious society; if anyone could have been properly prepared for a disaster like this, it's the Japanese. Yet the damage to the reactors at Fukushima was severe and the situation remains dangerous.
Most of the territory of the US is considered to be at low risk for earthquakes, but considering the harm a major quake near a nuclear reactor could do, there are too many uncertainties. One of the most violent quake series in the recorded history of North America happened in an area not normally considered quake- prone at all.
An overlooked question is vulnerability to terrorism. Imagine what could have happened if the planners of 9/11 had thought to crash a hijacked plane into a nuclear power plant. Evil humans are inherently harder to guard against than natural disasters. Natural disasters don't consciously study your safety precautions and plan ways to circumvent them; terrorists do.
Almost everyone recognizes that the world needs to move away from fossil fuels, but surely solar power is our best option. It's expensive, true, but so are nuclear reactors, when the costs of insurance and of elaborate safety precautions are factored in. The United States contains vast areas of useless desert where solar power stations could be built without disrupting anything important. Solar power is better suited to dispersed, numerous small power stations, more resilient than the small number of large power stations which nuclear energy requires. A solar power plant that somehow got wrecked wouldn't threaten the kind of widespread harm that radiation from a wrecked nuclear reactor would.
Nuclear power is a dinosaur-like hold-over from an earlier era of technology -- the era of centralization, gigantism, and rigidity, the era of putting all the eggs in one basket. For the era of dispersed, networked, flexible systems, solar power is better suited.
Global energy demand is going to increase enormously in the coming decades, as Asia and South America modernize and as computer power and usage grow exponentially (computers are energy-intensive). Nuclear power is not a safe way to meed this demand. The Sun is drenching the planet with free energy all the time, whether we use it or not. Surely the solution is obvious.