A 1-gigawatt nuclear plant converts 20 tons of fuel a year into 20 tons of waste, which is so dense it fills just two dry-storage casks, each one a cylinder 18 feet high, 10 feet in diameter.
By contrast, a 1-gigawatt coal plant burns 3 million tons of fuel a year and produces 7 million tons of CO2, all of which immediately goes into everyone’s atmosphere
In another passage, Brand notes that the footprint of a nuclear plant is in the order of a square mile.
I find this input/output calculation to be the most appealing aspect of nuclear power. The arguments about not overthinking the waste problem weren’t as convincing, since we do need a mechanism for holding long-term thinking accountable. But comparing the waste is generates against CO2, it seems like a vastly better alternative.