SpaceX founder Elon Musk recently said that he is pro-nuclear power and that he was surprised by some of the “sentiments against nuclear” among the public. The tech billionaire was speaking at the CodeCon 2021 in Los Angeles when he touched upon the subject of sustainable power generation. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO clarified that while he was not suggesting that countries should go around building several nuclear plants, he added that the ones that were functioning safely should not be shut down either. Musk was responding to a question about rising energy demands and a subsequent preference for electric vehicles.
In response, Musk said that the shift to electric vehicles from fuel and gas-powered vehicles would lead to a “little more than double” the current electricity demand. He said that in such a situation even if the power generation is increased, countries could be staring at a distribution problem. Musk said that a necessary part of the solution was local power generation as well as “large sustainable power-generation developments, primarily wind and solar.”
While admitting that there has been a growth in solar and wind power generation over the past few years, Musk added, “I am also kind of pro-nuclear and I am sort of surprised by the public sentiment against nuclear (power).”
Clarifying further, Musk said, “I’m not saying we should go build a whole bunch of nuclear plants, but I don’t think we should shut down ones that are operating safely,” in response to an audience interaction at the conference, moderated by journalist Kara Swisher.
Musk also commented on Germany’s recent decision to decommission its nuclear power plants. This, in turn, led the nation to depend heavily on coal-fired power plants. “They did this in Germany and had to create a whole bunch of coal power plants, and I don’t think that was the right decision, frankly,” Musk said.