“Nuclear bros” take to social media to spread the word

October 10, 2022, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Shannon Osaka
(Photo: Neel Dhanesha)

A recent Washington Post article profiles an “increasingly loud Internet subculture”: “nuclear bros.” A network of online pronuclear activists whose nickname is often used derisively, the group consists mostly of men who are primarily driven by their confidence that nuclear energy is the best way to combat the dangers of climate change. This is according to the writer, Shannon Osaka, who calls herself a “climate zeitgeist reporter.”

Left and formerly antinuclear: Osaka writes that the nuclear bros usually exchange ideas and information on shared WhatsApp groups, Reddit (r/nuclear), or Twitter. She provides profiles of a few of these bros and suggests that most are on the political Left and used to be antinuclear, until their fears of climate change pushed them to the pronuclear side.

One such bro, 40-year-old Toronto physician Chris Keefer, says he was formerly “tribally antinuclear” just because “everyone else he knew was opposed to it.” Then, after his son was born in 2018, he became “horrified” by the idea of a “much hotter world” in the future. So, he read up on nuclear energy and concluded that “hydro and nuclear are basically the only two tools that have helped achieve deep decarbonization.” By 2019, Keefer was organizing pronuclear rallies with Canadians for Nuclear Power, a group he cofounded. He also hosts a podcast in which he voices his support for nuclear power.