As Rod Adams on the Atomic Insights blog points out, existing nuclear power plants are extremely well run and highly efficient facilities. Their equipment and components are routinely checked and updated as they have to be in order to provide a steady output of power during their operation.
This is why when people like Christian Parenti portray nuclear power plants as being decrepit structures harking from the Cold War era, it is a grossly inaccurate portrayal. A nuclear power station is an extremely durable structure that is built to last. The containment dome is an extremely thick shell of reinforced concrete that can withstand that ravages of time, weather, and the occasional aircraft impact. The reactor itself is operated by highly trained and competent technicians who make sure that everything is operating smoothly. The strong culture of safety behind the nuclear industry speaks for itself, because the accident of Three Mile Island did not result in any deaths or injuries despite there being a core meltdown.
The fact of the matter is, that this sort of fear mongering about nuclear energy is never warranted, and causes people to panic needlessly. The paranoia of nuclear power is what is giving coal and natural gas their business as we see more fossil fuel burners being built to meet increasing energy demand. The nuclear genie is already out of the bottle, so we might as well put it to use.