An engineer for Google costs out how much it would be to replace the US reliance on coal and other fossil fuels with nuclear power, and comes up with a pretty doable numbers:
Result: In this future, we need 7.7 kW per person, provided by $3/watt capitalized sources with 8% cost of capital and 35% surcharge for O&M. The cost of this infrastructure: $2,550/person/year or 5% of GDP.Now, I am a limited skeptic of "Global Climate Change". While I believe that anthropogenic CO2 emissions and land use changes have contributed to natural cyclical warming trends, I think the doomsday scenarios being being widely espoused are highly overwrought, as I think that a warmer earth is probably a friendlier earth; far more people die annually of cold than heat, and food is easier to grow at higher temperatures and higher CO2 concentrations.
Chinese nuclear plant costs of $1.70/watt
Higher efficiency in an electric future were most processes take about 1/2 as much energy from electricity as they used to take from combustion. 1.3 kW from old electricity demands (unchanged) + 3.2 kW from new electricity demands (half of 6.4 kW). And fuels (where still needed) are produced using nuclear heat-driven synthesis approaches.
Alternative result: $844/person/year or 2% of GDP.
Even without the impetus of Global whatever, I think we would be far better of with a nuclear future than a coal powered future. I've lived within 3 miles of a nuke for years, and I've visited the insides of relatively well run coal fired power plants. I'd much rather have a nuke as a neighbor.