I've just finished reading "Power to Save the World," which is all about why using uranium to generate power is a really good idea.
The author is a lefty environmentalist and writer who became convinced (after talking with a bunch of nuclear scientists) that nuclear power is cleaner, cheaper, and safer than any of the current alternatives. I think she's right.
Perhaps the most surprising factoid I learned reading the book is that there's no evidence that exposure to small amounts of radiation causes cancer. The evidence that does exist seems to indicate that it doesn't-- below a certain dose, it looks like radiation exposure doesn't hurt us at all.
That makes sense, and the paranoia about radiation fits in with the more general paranoia surrounding very small doses of toxic substances. Like the current paranoia about prescription drugs showing up in our water supply; people just can't seem to grasp the idea that our bodies have evolved the ability to heal themselves and are pretty good at dealing with all sorts of nasty stuff, as long as there's not too much of it.
All of the estimates of "future cancer deaths" from the radiation released from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island assume that, if 100% of people die from a radiation dose of 1000, then 0.1% of people will die if they're exposed to a dose of 1.
That makes about as much sense as saying "if 100% of people die when hit in the head by a 10 pound block of concrete dropped from a height of 15 feet, then 1% will die if hit in the head by a two-ounce rock dropped from a height of 15 feet." Dosage matters. Just ask the good folks at the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division.