Do you know why we use uranium-based nuclear reactors? Yes, those dirty catastrophe-in-waiting plutonium-breeding waste-generating answers to today’s energy problems. Apparently, it’s precisely because they are a source of weapons-grade plutonium; back in 1965, the cold war was a factor in favouring the dirty tech over the clean one.
According to this Wired article, what we should have chosen was thorium-based reactors. They’re cheaper, they’re cleaner and they produce much less nuclear waste, which gets neutralized within about 300 years, as opposed to thousands of years for current reactor by-products.
I recommend you go read that article. For extra brownie points, have a look at this video; it’s a 16-minutes mash-up of several Google Tech talks about generating thorium-based energy.