Einstein’s infamous Theory of General Relativity paved the way for tremendous scientific progress including nuclear science. There are alternative sources of clean energy such as solar and wind, too but they cannot meet our energy needs due to input constraints. The solar energy depends upon the sun and the sun doesn’t shine all the time. The wind energy also faces similar input constraints while this is not the case for nuclear energy. The nuclear energy is also good for the environment and will help us fight global warming.
The engineering professionals such as mechanical and electrical engineers can play an important role in advancing the nuclear energy because we need their expertise in building reliable nuclear plants. Nuclear plants are often multi-billion dollar investments and even the simplest mistakes can prove costly. Thus, there is no room for error. But there is no need to panic because the workers at the nuclear plants are not exposed to radiation levels that are dangerous and are often healthier than their counterparts at gas or hydro plants.
The critics often engage in fear-mongering to discourage investments in nuclear plants and such fears are exaggerated. It is true nuclear bombs were devastating during the WWII and there have been few nuclear plant disasters such as the Chernobyl and Fukushima but only Chernobyl resulted in radiation-induced deaths. Nuclear energy has primarily been used for peaceful purposes and the U.S. is not alone in its focus on nuclear plants but even the rest of the world is going in the same direction.
China has been building 45 nuclear plants while Saudi Arabia plans to build 20 nuclear plants within 20 years. The U.S. has also been building 6 new nuclear plants while shutting down some coal plants. While there is still much work to do, the environment in the U.S. is much better than just few decades back. The efforts since the 1980 have been successful in reducing visible pollution.