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San Onofre Shutdown: Will It Affect California’s Push For Clean Air?

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts weighs in on how the nuclear plant's shutdown will affect California's mandate for fewer greenhouse emissions by 2020.

The operator of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station announced its permanently shutting the plant's doors, and that means the power it once generated will have to come from somewhere else.

At its peak, the nuclear plant powered 1.4 million homes, but those residents will need another source now that Southern California Edison has permanently taken the station's reactors offline.

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts said that will likely mean turning to energy that is less clean, at least for now.

"The short term is that we're going to have some emissions somewhere," Roberts said. "The long term – to have a short-term nuclear risk versus the long-term global warming issues, this is an easy thing to figure out: Of course you are going to close that if you can't do it safely.”

Roberts said when it came to safety, closing the plant was a no-brainer.

But California law also has a mandate to lower emissions by 2020. So will the need to offset San Onofre make it harder to meet that goal?

Roberts said the state is still on track and if confident the goal will be met.

"We're gonna get there," he said.

Roberts said greenhouse gas emissions have declined "pretty significantly" across the country, partly because new clean technologies are on the rise.

Having to rely on older energy technology will just be a temporary set back in a field that’s moving rapidly forward, he said.

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