Elon Musk explains why he is pro-nuclear energy

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wears a Plaid Mode jacket at the company's Model S Plaid Delivery Event on June 10th, 2021. (Credit: Tesla)

Elon Musk is arguably the world’s biggest clean energy advocate, and his company, Tesla, has built some of the biggest battery storage systems on the planet. Yet in recent comments, Musk has highlighted that he believes it’s a mistake to stigmatize nuclear energy today, especially as renewables like solar and batteries are still ramping up. 

Apart from leading Tesla into new milestones, Musk is also funding the $100 million XPRiZE Carbon Removal competition. The competition is well on its way, with XPRIZE revealing its 15 “milestone round” winners last April. Musk reiterated the importance of carbon capture in his recent interview on the Getting Stoned podcast, stating that it is also important to find ways to store carbon. 

“We need to get the parts per million level of CO2 in the atmosphere down to a lower level. We’re going to have to pull it out of the air and store it somewhere. And I think storing it in some solid form is going to make sense. You know, in a form that you know after you store it, it doesn’t gradually sort of evaporate and return to the atmosphere. It needs to be ‘you’ve got to extract the CO2 and store it,’” Musk said. 

To accomplish this, Musk noted that a lot of energy would need to be used. And when it comes to energy, he believes that using nuclear energy — at least for now — is an excellent way to power carbon capture projects. Musk noted that unless locations are at risk of natural disasters, using nuclear power is a pretty good energy solution

“I’m actually pro-nuclear as well. I think nuclear has a bad rap. People shouldn’t be shutting down nuclear power stations, in my view unless they’re in a location that’s prone to natural disasters. In which case, you know you can’t just be like, “we’re just waiting for the real but once in a century situation.” 

“Like the Fukushima situation. Well, you know there’s a lot of tsunamis and stuff, so it’s probably not great to have nuclear where there’s natural disasters. But for example, in like France or Germany and many parts of theUS, there’s really no meaningful risk of a natural disaster that could affect nuclear power plants. So we shouldn’t shut them down in that case,” Musk said. 

Over time, Elon Musk noted that batteries and solar would probably be the solutions that will power the world. But for now, while the transition is still taking place, solutions such as nuclear power are not a bad alternative at all. It certainly beats the use of dirtier forms of energy like coal and fossil fuels. 

Listen to Musk’s comments on nuclear power below. 

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Elon Musk explains why he is pro-nuclear energy
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