Reason 1: Nuclear power saves lives

Today, the world uses a lot of energy. And while the fully industrialized countries have leveled out  their energy consumption both totally and per capita - some are even starting to lower their consumption - the emerging economies are rapidly increasing their energy usage. The problem is this: The primary energy supply in the world is 90% fossil fuels and other combustibles, while renewables excluding hydro-power is approximately 1%.

So what's the problem with that?

Fossil fuels come with two short and long term side effects:
  1. They are causing massive environmental damage, and they are causing much ill health in  human beings.
  2. They are causing climate change.
Climate change we all know about, and whether you agree with the theory of AGW  or not, the overwhelming consensus is that carbon emissions must be lowered. The health aspect on the other hand goes largely unnoticed in the general debate. This goes not just for fossil fuels but also other combustible energy sources, such as burning wood and peat.

What do you mean "the health aspect"?

In the life-cycle of a power plant, there will be gaseous emissions and waste. These will cause ill health to people exposed to them. For people with frail health, this will lead to - among other things - deaths.
The blog The Next Big Future featured an article, referencing among other things the european ExtrenE project and other sources that looked into these "secondary costs". This is the data:
Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)
Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China 278
Coal – USA 15
Oil 36  (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas 4  (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass 12
Peat 12
Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao) 1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

But what am I supposed to do with this data?

Look up the energy usage statistics for a country you're interested in, multiply the respecive kind of energy, be it oil, coal, peat... and compare that mumber to what the corresponding number for nuclear and see the difference. That's all there is to it.

Here's a simple exercise: Suppose a 1000 MW nuclear reactor displaces 1000 MW of coal... what is the difference? Assume that the reactor is available 85% of the time, and runs at full power. Assume a lifetime fo 40 years. All of these number are a bit at the low end. and for the heck of it, assume the "nicest" value for coal: 15 dead per TWh. How many do you save with a nuclear reactor that displaces that amount of coal?

So what you are saying is...

...that nuclear power saves lives, when it replaces any of the 90% of the energy used in the world today. That is a good reason to love nuclear power.