Stop worrying and love nuclear: California charts a smarter course to cutting greenhouse gases

In approving more than $50 billion to move away from energy sources that spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the nation’s largest state just took a significant step forward in the battle to curb climate change.

Good for California’s Democrat-dominated government — and double good that in doing so, legislators included nuclear power in the zero-emissions energy mix, keeping the state’s last nuclear plant alive rather than moving ahead with plans to mothball it by 2025.


They made the wise move after scientists at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that delaying the retirement of Diablo Canyon’s reactors beyond their planned retirement would save California billions, reduce the chances of brownouts and lower carbon emissions.

Not long ago, New York moved in the opposite direction, saying sayonara to Indian Point, which satisfied about a quarter of the city’s electricity needs without emitting any carbon dioxide.

Since then, as we and others predicted, we’ve grown increasingly reliant on high-emissions energy, making it all that much harder to satisfy ambitious targets set by a state climate law.

It’s understandable that climate activists want to replace oil- and gas-fired plants with wind, solar, geothermal and other green sources, a transition we wholeheartedly support.

But the limited capacity of those technologies and a growing appetite for grid-fed energy mean that we need every reliable zero-emission energy source on deck, including fission.

The federal government gets it.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes significant tax credits for nuclear energy production, and another boost for next-generation zero-emissions power plants, of which smaller, newfangled nuclear reactors are a leading type.

In a survey by The Associated Press earlier this year, about two-thirds of states said they plan for nuclear, in one form or another, to take the place of some fossil fuels.

That would mean increasing reliance on a source that, through about 93 aging reactors, now provides about a fifth of the nation’s electricity, and about half of its zero-carbon energy.

New York must decisively join states that see nuclear with clear eyes: as part of the future.

— New York Daily News

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