Oil and natural gas and coal and electricity are, to some extent, fungible. If we produce more electricity with domestic nuclear, we can import less oil. There is a short-term limit, of course, because there are only so many oil-burning powerplants that can be supplanted by nuclear plants. But if new supplies of electricity make electricity cheaper relative to oil, people will switch other things from oil to electricity -- things like cars (plug-in hybrids) and home heating (heat pumps instead of furnaces and oil burners).
Think of the advantages:
Numbers: 9,140,000 barrels a day at $22/barrel (the bottom of OPEC price range) is $73 billion a year. The real number is likely a fair bit higher than that. The entire 2003 trade deficit was $374 billion, so oil imports were at least 20% of that.
But consider what would happen if the guy on the Saudi side of the table didn't care about the local Saudi economy. What if his priorities were religious and/or political?
There is some possibility the jobs could be moved to Canada or Mexico. Either one of those two countries could invest in large nuclear programs and become a major exporter of electricity to the U.S. Canada is already a major exporter of hydroelectricity.
But of course the problem with nuclear power is the waste and the security issues. These issues look unacceptable if you think that the alternative is to simply reject nuclear power. But that's not the alternative. The alternative is invading nasty foreign dictatorships because we can't afford oil supply instability. But worse, we have to keep those foreign nations stabilized over dozens of years to ensure oil stability. That effort claims the lives of our soldiers who will perish trying to suppress rebellions overseas against what those rebels (correctly) see as U.S. interference in their domestic politics.
So, I think we need to examine two propositions: Do we keep garrisons overseas in unstable nations for the next 100 years, and lose many soldiers every year to insurrection, in order to secure our overseas oil supply, or do we replace that oil supply with a domestic nuclear infrastructure that generates, uses, and discards enormously dangerous substances as part of its basic operation?
And my answer is, better the devil you know that the one you don't. Nuclear is an entirely domestic industry. Our government has the ability to regulate this industry. The regulation may not be perfect, but at least everyone involved is inside our borders. Nobody questions that the U.S. military and police forces have the right to secure nuclear facilities. There are no protests in the street from those willing to die to prevent the NRC from specifying standards to which the nuclear industry is accountable.
Of course, I would like to see some changes in the nuclear industry. Reactors are still built as if a major goal was the production of weapons-grade plutonium. The only way to reduce the amount of nuclear waste that must be separated from the environment forever is to reduce the interaction of radioactive stuff with the environment. This means that reactor cores should be sealed objects, built in the very crypts they will stay in for hundreds of thousands of years. The only thing that ever comes out is heat. When the fuel in the core is "burned up", the core is irreversibly shut down and left to cool, essentially forever. New cores, with their own independent containment vessels, are built next to the old ones, and the power generation infrastructure is switched to these new cores as the old ones die.