Nuclear power accidents do tend to scare people and the media do seem to certainly know how to magnify and exaggerate the danger to the public. The share price of major nuclear plant producers in France were badly hit as soon as the issue of the leakages in Japan became a media issue as a global reaction against nuclear power was anticipated. The fact that most reactors in non earthquake zones are safe was ignored as a media story.
Overall a full cost evaluation of nuclear power has not indicated that it is significantly cheaper than other power sources owing to costs of dealing with waste material and the costs need to run and maintain a safe power plant not to mention decommissioning. Nuclear fusion offers much better options if they can get it to work.
For sure Japan was a political victory for the Greens but their anti-nuclear campaign had already been successful long before the incident. It was a great "I told you so" opportunity but polls were already heavily in their favor start of this year. The difference it really made was to give Merkel an excuse to "change her mind" and portray herself as a responsive leader.
The whole energy debate is interesting and I agree nuclear is no clear solution. Coal, gas and even wind are more profitable but then there's the issue of cleanliness, carbon emissions and ugly turbines cluttering the landscape. Typical politics, the Greens criticize the government's energy policy but have no clear or feasible strategies of their own (short of turning all the lights out).