The debate over nuclear energy has never seemed more important. After weighing every study on the subject, teams of scientist have predicted that warming of 1.5 degrees C (2.4 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels would bake 1.5 billion people in life-threatening heat waves at least once every five years, bleach coral reefs, and cause crop failure. And according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there's no way to avoid that scenario without using nuclear power. After all, nuclear fission is the world's second-largest source of low-carbon electricity after hydropower.
Yet here in the United States, utilities are planning to shut down nuclear power plants that are producing more than twice as much electricity as all the solar panels in the country. The main reason is the cost. Today's reactors are so expensive that some say it would be better to invest in other options — fusion, batteries, or maybe a better version of nuclear.