To back up his statement about the need to expand nuclear power throughout Europe to lessen reliance on Russian oil, Elon Musk says that he will travel to a known area of “heavy radiation” and “eat locally grown food” on national TV!
In a recent tweet, the outspoken Tesla and SpaceX CEO called for Europe to generate more nuclear power to offset fears of a gas shortage caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is “extremely obvious,” Musk wrote, that Europe should restart dormant nuclear power plants and boost the output of those that are operational.
The tweet — which has been retweeted more than 31,000 times since its original posting — drew its fair share of backlash online.
“Until one is mismanaged again and leaks everywhere. That’s the risk of more,” responded Jim Osman, founder of the Edge Consulting Group.
Musk, however, claimed the notion of radiation risk is a mistaken one and laid down a challenge to his critics.
“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,” he tweeted, adding that he did so in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima months after its nuclear accident.
Musk visited Fukushima in July 2011, according to a press release from SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016. Musk’s trip was also reported in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun media outlet. I could not find any sources that could independently verify whether Musk did or did not eat locally grown food there as he claimed – by why not believe him? He is known to dramatically make a point or two!
There have been two major nuclear-plant disasters in history, at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986 and at Fukushima in 2011. In Chernobyl, children and emergency and recovery workers are at increased risk of negative health effects caused by radiation, but “the vast majority of the population need not live in fear of serious health consequences,” said a United Nations assessment of the disaster, released in 2021. Another UN study released in 2021 said it found “no adverse health effects” among Fukushima residents directly related to radiation exposure from the accident.
Musk’s call for more nuclear energy in Europe comes two days after he pushed for a boost in US oil and gas output to counter any decline in Russian supplies.
Russian oil exports have fallen by one-third due to sweeping Western sanctions against Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Energy Intelligence reported last week. Although the sanctions do not specifically target Russian oil and gas exports, there was “general reluctance among buyers to risk-taking Russian cargoes,” the trade-media outlet reported.
The developments have caused oil prices to spike to multiyear highs, sending gas prices at the pump soaring.
“Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately,” Musk said in a tweet on Friday. “Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.”
Musk’s comments came before Joe Biden announced his plan to ban Russian oil imports into the US.