Despite originally being a vocal opponent of nuclear energy and fossil fuels, Thunberg admitted in a recent interview that it would be “a mistake” to shut down Germany’s nuclear power plants, National File reported.
Thunberg was asked if Germany’s nuclear power plants would provide an alternative to Russian energy, which the country has been cut off from in the wake of the Ukrainian invasion.
“If we already have them running, I feel that it’s a mistake to close them down in order to focus on coal,” she said.
Thunberg and other climate activists have railed against nuclear energy for years, mostly making outdated claims about safety of the energy source.
Nuclear energy—which currently accounts for 10% of the world’s electricity—has been a largely bipartisan win, with Republicans preferring it as a safe, cost-effective solution to rising energy prices and even some Democrats increasingly seeing it as a clean source of energy that may reduce climate change.
Nuclear power does account for less greenhouse gas emission than solar and wind energy, and also has a lower death rate than wind and hydroelectric power—even accounting for the Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents.
Large nuclear disasters happened in plants without modern technology, and modern nuclear plants are considered to be much safer.
It is looking as if European countries may come to depend on those nuclear plants as winter approaches and the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.
The determination of nuclear energy among the elites is mixed, with Bill Gates betting big on nuclear energy in a small Wyoming town and California Gov. Gavin Newsom debating whether or not to shut down the state’s final nuclear facility.
Either way, nuclear power is being treated as a next step for climate activists in Europe, mainly due to necessity as a cold winter draws nearer.