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Cole Crouch: Save nuclear energy

 

California is shutting down its last nuclear reactor, getting rid of clean energy for 3 million people. We are seeing record carbon emissions, and California isn’t helping.

According to David Victor, professor of innovation and public policy at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego, “The politics against nuclear power in California are more powerful and organized than the politics in favor of a climate policy.”

We need to choose a cleaner energy method or we will choke and drown. Don’t shut down nuclear energy. We don’t have nearly enough plants to slow down our consumption of fossil fuel emissions, and if California shuts down the Diablo Canyon reactor, 15% of our clean energy production will be lost.



As a junior in high school, I am all the more concerned with how the planet will look as I become an adult. However, due to the mediatization of Chernobyl and Fukushima, atomic energy has been viewed as dangerous and unpredictable. This reaction may be because of ignorance rather than an actual underlying threat.

According to openaccessgovernment.org, “Americans that live closer to nuclear power stations are more likely to have a favorable opinion of the nuclear industry.” When people are shown atomic plants aren’t nuclear bombs waiting to explode, it can help calm their anxiety.




After the recent and severe heat waves, California can’t produce enough energy to power our homes. This has caused policymakers to prevent natural gas plants from shutting down when they were scheduled to later this year.

When implemented, nuclear power plants operate 24/7 for up to two years of production without refueling. Plants similar to Diablo are licensed to have lifespans of 60 to 80 years, making them the most efficient energy source available. If Diablo shuts down, fossil fuels will actually stay in California longer.

You may be thinking that saving Diablo Canyon is hopeless because of the sheer cost, and you’d be right. I won’t lie to you and say if we all pitch in, maybe a miracle investor will buy Diablo to save it.

But what you can do is help urge our federal government to decide on a long-term storage location for nuclear waste. This will help begin the process to make more nuclear reactors in the future. Nuclear isn’t over for California, but Diablo Canyon will cease to power our homes.

Our lack of action is going to be our downfall. If we put our trust in nuclear energy it could reward us well. But doing nothing and allowing fossil fuels to dominate our energy grid could be far more dangerous than any nuclear meltdown. Save nuclear energy.

Cole Crouch, 16, is a junior at the Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning.

 


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