dammit. I have to chirp on this one.
To hell with it --- I can live with the down votes.
If we want to catalogue "which energy source is killing more than which " we have to have comparable studies on the life cycle of the energy sources. And effectively there are no comparable studies.
There is in this thread a lot of good data, and some good debate. There is also a lot of hyperbole.
What I will say is that there are technologies ( sorry -- canuck here) that use nuclear to generate electricity that are NOT based on the fast breeder technology that was rampant in the late 60s and 70s and are somewhat safer than those. There is also a lot of research going into thorium salt based reactors which could well be safer still, and have the advantage of eating (albeit slowly) through the "garbage" from both light water fast breeder tech and deuterium based reactors.
In the long run, **if** the planetary ecological changes are indeed driven by carbon output, then we have to remove the carbon outputs. That means bye bye fossil fuels. Renewable resources are limited at this point to a) HydroElectric b) wind c) Solar d) tidal (some would lump a and d together, in reality we shouldn't) Only a) and d) portend consistently available supply, since b and c are subject to the day to day variances of mother nature. And even then a) and d) are subject to longer term vagaries of nature (lack of rain will cut into your hydro reservoir and tidal effects can be altered by silt deposits)
Now, supposition being that the "ecological change" we may see from "too much carbon output" will cause horrendous problems -- we've seen that there are scientists on all sides of the issue (the change is natural, the change is man made due to carbon, there will be huge sea rises, there will be no sea rises, and various combinations of these) -- since there are still arguments going on in the scientific community we need to be open minded. But for the sake of this argument, lets suppose that
a) man made carbon in the atmosphere is the problem
b) there will be horrendous sea level changes as a result.
Renewable power sources are subject to the same ecological changes that will cause b). This makes them a less than reliable resource to head off a).
(yes - this is a bit of a jump, but here's a pivotal point - we're supposed to be causing a horrendous affect on the global ecology, why would we make our energy dependency on something that will be horribly affected by change?)
Thus we as humans have to rationally accept that we need to change our energy sources.
We need to accept that renewable resources may be as negatively affected as much as the rest of the ecology by this terrible affect of carbon in the atmosphere. We are left with ....... very few options.
ITER will be a great testbed for a wonderful concept. But our ability to deploy that in a useful form cannot in any way be compressed to meet the time lines of destruction that the ecological change theories used to panic everyone predict.
There are reasonably stable forms of nuclear technology that are available now, and can be deployed in time frames that *are* likely to meet these cases.
What does *not* exist anywhere is a modern, updated robust infrastructure that will carry that energy out to the folks that will use it. Yes infra does exist, but not to meet the needs of charging all those electric objects that will replace the currently fossil fuel burning objects.
Thus -> economic implosion is occurring world wide? -> rebuild the electrical infrastructure and build a whole lot of small scale, non-breeder nuclear reactors. Design the reactors to include an upgrade to (some other form of nuclear, to ITER, to ???) ... And THEN start including the renewable sources.
damn could solve two problems in one go.
too bad the politicians don't have the will to make it happen.
I'm sorry, I live between 8 (count em) active nuclear reactors 4 east of me and 4 west of me, and I'd quite happily take the 4 that are offline and in decommission and have them spun up again as thorium salt research reactors. Yes I am pro nuclear. And until fusion comes along and actually works I will be.