In the past, most Americans (and probably many Europeans and Japanese) were either for or against nuclear. These days, a large middle area has opened up because nuclear is not fossil fuel, and may have an important role in future energy economies.
Having said that, building new nuclear plants have mostly moved into the pipe dream category. It is jut not happening. But maintaining and continuing to run existing plants is probably important, no what you think about nukes.
Here’s the thing. There are two reasons to shut down an existing plant. 1) It is too old or otherwise unsafe and needs to be closed. This is fairly rare but will become more common over the ext 30 years, and eventually, every one will be shuttered and converted over to nuclear waste storage facility. 2) it is too damn expensive to run.
We need to shut down the type 1 plants. We can have a conversation some other time about the strategy of replacing such plants with new nukes. We should not be shutting down type 2 plants now, because that puts pressure on the industry, which is relatively dumb when it comes to making long term decisions, to maintain or even build new methane, oil, or even coal plants.
But how do we save these type 2 plants from premature decommissioning?
With a carbon dividend. (I do not call this a carbon fee and divided or carbon tax because those terms are inaccurate. See: “The Carbon Dividend Is Not A Tax“)
This post at Think Progress outlines the problem and the solution. Warning: Ironies are exposed, so wear your face gear.