While Fukushima was the latest accident, I always like to point out that the Fukushima plant is actually older than TMI, by at least by a few months, depending on how you measure it - do you start the time when construction started, or when criticality was first achieved?
When construction started. More precisely when the design was finished. The nature of a NPP means that it is close to impossible to retrofit any technological advances into them because a lot of the technology is in the way the plant is arranged and constructed.
One exception is I am seeing some interesting developments in nano level enhancements to coolants for the primary cooling loop however these appear to favor extending the existing lifespans of existing reactors.
Modern, actual modern nuclear plants would be far safer.
By what standard? And to which approved, viable and currently available NPP designs are you referring too? We have already seen significant design advances for NPPs already proposed and rejected due to the expense. By some ironic quirk TMI *is* one of the safest designs because it was designed to be resistant to aircraft impacts
And yes, Coal power kills more people any given day than Nuclear does all decade.
Coal and Nuclear are as bad as each other but for different reasons. Nuclear kills people for subsequent decades as the radioactive effluents make their way through our water and food supply, it also reduces the birth rate because pregnancies fail to come to full term. The key thing is it happens very slowly and the majority of effects are still years away as opposed to coal whose effects are almost instantaneous in comparison.
If there was the will to fix some of it's many design flaws it may have a chance to contribute to human society, however right now it is just a source of subsidy revenue for the oil and coal companies using provisions made available in the 2005 energy act. Governments, i.e. the populous, should own the nuclear industry as private industry is profit motivated as opposed to safety motivated. Properly managed NPP's could have provided economic stimulus, for example by providing cheap industrial power inputs, during downturns forcing industry to invest to take advantage of them. Alas!
I'd really like to see a high-efficiency high temperature molten salt thorium reactor deployed.
From my understanding of this technology it's spent fuel product is 233 Thallium, IIRC, which is characterized by many daughter products with short half lives. I'm not saying it isn't better reactor technology however it would seem the central issue of current reactor technology, the long term storage of spent fuel products, is an issue for thorium reactor technology as well.
Until we have effective, geologically stable and appropriate spent fuel containment facilities then we will always have higher levels of risk with greater levels of impact as a result of accidents in the nuclear industry. For that reason it's important to reduce that level of risk and impact to the community regardless of what reactor technology is deployed.