So we agree, coal plants generate more radioactive waste than nuclear plants.
No, that's not true. Coal only contains minor radioactive components that are all around us anyway. In nuclear reactors additional highly active material is produced and other components get activated. But it is completely contained and therefore you can control it much better. In that we agree.
It's been a while since I last did a paper on this stuff, but here's a semi recent link:
From the abstract I guess we talk about different things. Transuranic components are not the waste I talked about. They surely can be used for another fission cycle. But the resulting lighter elements thereafter can not be fissioned in a proper chain reaction for energy production and are thus waste.
Coal plants are just treating the pollution as an externality, that and NIMBY are the only reasons it's "cheaper". We've already agreed the nuclear plant is safer. If you want to talk about "terrorists" or boogey men attacking something, drive past the billion gallon LNG tanks in New Jersey and tell me how dangerous natural gas is first.
Ok, first we do agree that coal plants are worse than nuclear. For the time beeing nuclear is IMHO the only real option of energy production. But that doesn't mean it's an optimal solution. There might not have been accidents for a long time but these things are not completely safe. And the worst case scenario of a nuclear plant accident is way worse than of any other power plant. The only good longterm energy source I see is fusion. Inherently safe and only short-lived radioactive waste.
Second, the nowadays so popular terrorist scare tactics might work well in the US, but not where I live.
Fast breeder reactors were indeed in use 20 years ago, they continue today and that usage is, outside the US, increasing. The so-called security concerns are that the US doesn't want other nations to be able to POSSIBLY make weapons out of that plutonium that is a by-product of using U238.
Well, according to http://www.world-nuclear.org/ only 4 breeders are operational at the moment, in contrast to >300 non-breeders. The weapon-making-issue is not what I had in mind. Breeders have a way lower power / volume ratio than other types of reactors, making them economically less interesting. This might change however when the Uranium resources deplete. Plus you have in some types liquid sodium as coolant which has to be handled safely, again increasing the costs. Quite sad that higher costs seems to be a stronger argument than a superior technology...
I'd love to see an accessible paper that shows coal is as clean as and still cheaper than nukes that isn't from a loon, including the cost of storing that arsenic, cesium and other "nasty stuff" that goes up the coal plant smokestack, unfiltered, much less recapturing the CO2 in any fashion.
Most coal plants nowadays use filters which get almost anything out except the CO2. Some of the stuff like sulphur oxides can even be turned into useful stuff like plaster. Extracting the CO2 is currently work-in-progess. The costs for both types of energy are almost the same. Give or take a cent, varies from country to country.