Musk Issues Strange Challenge After Tweets on Nuclear Power

In defense of tweets, Tesla CEO says he'll go to high-radiation area, eat locally grown fare on TV
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2022 12:33 PM CST
Musk Issues Strange Challenge After Tweets on Nuclear Power
FILE -Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington on March 9, 2020.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – Over the weekend, Elon Musk decided to air his thoughts on nuclear-powered energy amid concerns of a gas shortage due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the backlash on those thoughts led him to issue a most unusual challenge. "Hopefully, it is now extremely obvious that Europe should restart dormant nuclear power stations and increase power output of existing ones," he first wrote on Sunday, per Benzinga. "This is *critical* to national and international security." He added that "nuclear is vastly better for global warming than burning hydrocarbons for energy." Criticism soon followed the tweets, with the original one shared more than 37,000 times by early Monday afternoon.

"Until one is mismanaged again and leaks everywhere," Jim Osman, founder of the Edge Consulting Group, responded to Musk's tweets, per Insider. "That's the risk of more." A few minutes later, Musk put forth his challenge. "For those who (mistakenly) think this is a radiation risk, pick what you think is the worst location," he wrote. "I will travel there & eat locally grown food on TV."

He noted that he'd done the same in Japan, after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, adding, "Radiation risk is much, much lower than most people believe." Per Bloomberg stats cited by Insider, Europe is set to have more than 100 shutdown nuclear reactors by the time 2022 closes out. Although Europe has been slowly shifting to renewable energy sources, it's not a quick enough pace to ensure the continent will be just fine if it ditches Russian-supplied oil. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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