Portrait of Isabelle Boemeke

Credit – Elliot & Erick Jiménez

Isabelle Boemeke’s TikTok videos often take a surprising turn. The model starts out with makeup tutorials and fitness routines, but when she opens her fridge to show off what she’s eating, she changes the subject. “A pellet of uranium, about the size of a gummy bear,” she tells more than 25,000 subscribers, “has as much energy as 149 gallons of oil.”

The 32-year-old Brazilian is a self-proclaimed nuclear power influencer, posting online as Isodope (a pun on the chemical term isotope). After first learning about the benefits of nuclear energy from a tweet by American planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, Boemeke spent years reading scientific texts and connecting with experts in the field to expand his knowledge.

The word nuclear is often associated with disasters – Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island – but its message is that, properly managed and monitored, it is a vital source of energy to lead the world away from fossil fuels. “When it comes to nuclear energy, the world has been sold as a bad meme,” Boemeke said at a recent TED talk. “An obsolete.”

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In 2020, she started adding climate and energy information to her usual glamor photo shoots. “My strength was having a social media platform and being able to connect with people in a way that a lot of scientists and experts can’t,” she says. At first, she received “spicy comments and DMs,” she says. But she is making a real change.

Around the world, nuclear reactors are being retired, and in December Boemeke helped organize protests against the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo, California. The plant’s shutdown has now been pushed back to 2030, after clean energy advocates made the case that the state would struggle to cut carbon emissions without it. Boemeke remains optimistic. This generation “is really the only hope,” she says.

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