We could, and it would be a good way to get rid of some of our cold war nuclear warheads. We only need enough nuclear weapons to blow up the entire world once. One thing people who are anti-nuclear always bring up is that it can take 10 years to build a nuclear power plant. Really it takes 4-5 years to build, but it takes an additional 4-5 years just to get the licenses before you can start construction. Regulations placed on the construction of nuclear plants are placed there to keep nuclear power plants from being built, not because of safety. I think wind and nuclear are the big two energy sources we should be perusing because as boone pickens says it will allow natural gas to be used in cars, but it would also take pressure off of coal which can be turned into oil for under $30 per barrel. In other words, we could become completely energy independent as far as transportation fuel. Our coal reserves are approximately double the equivalent of Saudi Arabia's reserves of oil.
Why not nuclear? It is simple. American people are ignorant. Plain and simple.
Average American equates nuclear with bomb. They don't understand or choose not to understand that FOREVER is longer than 10,000 years. They don't understand that chemical poison will last FOREVER and that nuclear waste will last 10,000 years. They don't understand that the same chemical waste is stored in simple steel drums and can and do occasional leak contaminating the soil and groundwater. They don't understand that nuclear waste will be placed in containers that can survive train crashed, 1000 F fire and submerged without losing integrity. Average American would rather have a chemical plant spewing toxic fumes than having a nuclear plant. Anti-nuclear people claim nuclear energy is not safe. If that is the case, they should taking x-rays next time they go to hospital, or fly in airplanes. They should not go to the basement because of radon gas. Or they should not live in Denver because higher altitude=higher background radiation. Some might say it is ok because it is natural, as if the radiation carries a tag saying it is natural or man-made!
Clean coal! What a joke! Americans don't know that the ashes are loaded with radioactive elements. How it can be clean if still emits CO2? And to extract the coal, they destroy the environment with huge pits or leveling an entire mountain, destroying precious water streams.
France is most powered by nuclear power and French people are more educated in the area. But to the average Joe, munching on FREEDOM fries, will say that French don't know anything, they don't have lawyers to fight against nuclear energy.