Almost all of our energy sources have had negative impact on the environment. We see the effect of burning fossil fuels, with greenhouse gases and other contaminants from coal in particular. Wind opponents are talking about noise and the turbines killing birds. No doubt the making of solar pannels and covering the earth with them will have issues. The thing is most of these other environmental impacts seem more reversible (apparently) over nuclear. Having said that the climate change greenhouse gas guys seem to be suggesting a tipping point of no return, so its more complicated than many think. Nuclear power is still early in its history, so after all the mistakes are made and lessons learned maybe it gets more controlled and acceptable. For now i can understand Germany's cautious approach, but for others nuclear is going to be part of their energy mix.
The future of energy is fusion. It is completely clean, has no dangerous byproducts, and is infinitely available. Unfortunately, it is not yet ready, and may not be for several more decades. Nonetheless, once it arrives, our many energy crises will be over.
The King Kong of dirty energy is coal. It is FAR more dangerous to burn coal than to melt down nuclear reactors. Most people don't believe this, but consider this. Fukushima will probably result in a few hundred premature deaths due to cancer based on our experience with Chernobyl and nuclear bomb data. Coal causes the premature deaths of 12,000 Americans a year according the the Bush administration's EPA. That is a year. According to the UN, Chernobyl will result in around 4,000 premature deaths world wide over the life of the disaster, which will be 60-80 years. In that time, coal combustion will for the production of electricity will be estimated to kill 840,000 Americans alone, according to the 2007 estimates. World wide, the estimates are likely way off on the low scale, China doesn't scrub anything. The pollutants in coal are elemental, they don't go away. A one GWhr coal plant emits 30,000 lbs of mercury vapor per year.