Elon Musk urges decommissioned nuclear plants to reopen and vows to repeat his Fukushima stunt
Over the weekend, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk made quite the waves for essentially saying to the global fossil fuel industry and the American shale oil and gas wells in particular to "dill, baby, drill." His argument was that, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the impact on energy prices will be so devastating that the world will need to pump more oil and gas to offset the shocks to the global economy. He admitted that this is likely to hurt Tesla as a sustainable transportation pioneer, but will be a much needed measure in the short run.
Now, however, Elon Musk wants more nuclear power, too, especially in Europe which not only has a lot of underutilized nuclear capacity, but is also the most highly dependent on Russian oil and gas region. About 40% of Europe's energy needs are met by Russia, and the war only exacerbated its gas storage drawdowns to the point that they now have to be filled with gas at unprecedented prices. To mitigate the impact, Europe would have to "restart dormant nuclear power stations" as well as "increase the output of existing ones," said Elon Musk. This would fly in the face of the green energy strategy of countries like Germany and the European Union as a whole.
Recently, however, gas and nuclear were left in the list of sustainable energy sources in the European energy strategy albeit on a number of conditions, so the unprecedented energy crisis might lead to exactly what Tesla's CEO is now suggesting. Prompted by the influx of negative comments about the downsides of nuclear power stations, Musk said that he is willing to go in any of their vicinities and eat locally grown food to prove his point. He mentioned that's what he did "shortly after Fukushima," though local media only has him on record donating solar panels and power generation system there.
For those who (mistakenly) think this is a radiation risk, pick what you think is the worst location. I will travel there & eat locally grown food on TV.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2022
I did this in Japan many years ago, shortly after Fukushima. Radiation risk is much, much lower than most people believe.