Running away from nuclear is emotional, not logical. For the reasons you point out.
I think it is important to include all the economic reasons. Waterfell’s analysis included fuel costs, but did not include capital costs. In other words, he was assuming the nuclear power plant itself is free. If you include capital costs, the economics of new nuclear changes a lot. And as we will see, even some existing nuclear plants are uneconomical.
First some context is in order. In the early 2000s rising natural gas prices caused re-examination of nuclear power, called the “nuclear renaissance.” From wiki:
Between 2007 and 2009, 13 companies applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for construction and operating licenses to build 31 new nuclear power reactors in the United States...
...The Energy Policy Act of 2005 offered the nuclear power industry financial incentives and economic subsidies that, according to economist John Quiggin, the "developers of wind and solar power could only dream of". The Act provides substantial loan guarantees, cost-overrun support of up to $2 billion total for multiple new nuclear power plants, and the extension of the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act through to 2025. The Act was promoted as a forerunner to a "nuclear renaissance" in the United States, with dozens of new plants being announced.
But of those 31 applications for new nuclear power reactors, only one has been completed and two are scheduled to be completed. The rest have been canceled. The reasons are straightforward and have little to do with crowds of angry hippies. A solid majority of Americans support nuclear energy and have for decades. The main reason is cheap shale gas from fracking made new nuclear unattractive. But it is worse than that. Cheap natural gas has made even some existing nuclear unattractive:
Exelon Generation said Monday it is preparing to refuel its Byron and Dresden nuclear plants after the Illinois Senate passed legislation that will provide $700 million in subsidies for the struggling units, which the power giant was poised to close.
On April 1, 2021, the cost of New York's nuclear bailout will go up by a scheduled $49 million to a total of $590 million per year ($1.6 million per day). Every electricity consumer in the state pays for the bailout, including residents, businesses, and municipalities.
Other states have similar arrangements. To be clear, there are good reasons why it is bad policy to shut down large portions of the nuclear fleet all at once. But you can’t argue that nuclear is cheap and ignore the fact even some existing facilities require subsidies just to remain in operation. Utility companies simply won’t build new nuclear plants if their existing plants are losing money. That is just objective reality and has nothing to do with emotion.
There are other rational reasons as well. Electricity consumption in the US has been pretty flat for 15+ years.
Nuclear plants by nature are large. But there aren’t large increases in demand. So who are you going to sell all this power to? Most utilities don’t want big new plants. They want smaller plants that can built incrementally meet demand. That is a completely rational viewpoint to have.