Nuclear power is still necessary for decarbonizing our energy production.
Environmental protection has been synonymous with opposing nuclear energy. Creating hazardous waste, cooling procedures that destroy aquatic life and possible catastrophic meltdown are all hazards of nuclear reactors. But nuclear energy is also one of the lowest carbon emitting sources when viewed over its lifetime. Nuclear has downsides, but far less than the destructive potential of 2+ degrees of global temperature increase.
The safest and ultimately most cost-effective choice is renewables like solar, wind and hydroelectric. These sources continue to get cheaper and have much smaller negative impact on our ecosystem. But they aren't yet at a point where we can replace all global energy production. Storage and consistent production are also obstacles that scientists are working to resolve to achieve a fully renewable energy production infrastructure.
In the meantime, nuclear is consistent, tested and reliable.
In past decades, the risks of nuclear have outweighed the benefits. However, with the perspective of modern climate science, nuclear appears to be one of our safest choices.
UN reports state that we have just 12 years to significantly decarbonize our entire economy to avoid drastic consequences that will result in massive loss of life.
Investment should still stay primarily in renewables, but at the very least we should keep our existing nuclear plants running.
Shutting down nuclear reactors when we still have coal and natural gas production facilities running is decision driven for profits over the well-being of our citizens.
Peter Gorski, La Crosse