Nuclear plants big or small play a crucial role in fighting climate change as they are the sole emissions-free source of energy that can supply base load power, writes Matthew Stepp, a senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Renewables, on the other hand, need peaking natural gas plants or utility-scale energy storage to balance demand. In fact, Southern California Edison's decision to permanently shut down its San Onofre nuclear plant in California is expected to raise carbon dioxide emissions in the state, Stepp adds.

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