Should we be getting more of our power from nuclear energy?

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“California is regarded as the leading state when it comes to addressing climate change. But in 2012, according to analysts at Rhodium Group, California’s carbon emissions actually increased more than 10 percent, bucking the national trend of decreases. That’s in large part because California shut down one of its few remaining nuclear power plants,” writes NPR’s Richard Harris.

That rise in carbon emissions underscores the huge impact nuclear power can have in efforts to combat climate change.

Armond Cohen, executive director of the Clean Air Task Force, cites the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station as he explains why he has reluctantly shifted from being an anti-nuclear activist to someone who now argues that we can’t afford to dismiss nuclear power.

Cohen says authorities did the right thing when they shut down the troubled and aging nuclear plant near San Diego. But he’s not happy to see California lose a major source of low-carbon energy.

“San Onofre produced as much carbon-free energy as all the wind power installed in California to date,” Cohen says. “So it’s going to be a pretty heavy lift to replace all that nuclear with low-carbon energy.”

Today’s Question: Should we be getting more of our power from nuclear energy?