Nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima are still fresh in the memory of most people. Even though nuclear power plants produce clean energy, they have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The cost of building new plants has skyrocketed. People have become more concerned about the handling of nuclear waste. Here we take a look at the top 10 countries with most nuclear reactors in the world.
The critics of nuclear technology have been demanding the shutdown of many nuclear reactors around the world. The United States is closing nuclear reactors one by one. The remaining reactor at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California is set to be closed in 2025.
The falling prices of natural gas coupled with the boom in solar and wind power production have made it difficult for nuclear power plants to compete with other sources of energy.
But some of the world’s experts are optimistic about the future of nuclear energy. As the world looks to reduce its reliance on fuels such as coal and natural gas, experts believe nuclear energy would become a more important part of the future energy mix. The risk of accidents at nuclear power plants has also been declining as power plants and governments have been taking additional measures to avoid Fukushima-like disasters.
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report looked into different scenarios in which the world could limit global warming to 1.5-degree Celsius by 2050. Almost all scenarios have an increased production of nuclear energy.
According to the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), there are currently 449 nuclear reactors operating in the world. They account for 11% of the world’s energy. The number doesn’t include the reactors still under construction.
These are the top 10 countries with the most nuclear reactors in the world, as per data from the International Atomic Energy Association.
10- United Kingdom, 15
The UK has 15 operational nuclear reactors, and one is currently under construction. The nuclear power plants have a total capacity of 8,923 MW. Nuclear energy accounts for close to 18% of the UK’s total electricity consumption.
9- Ukraine, 15
Ukraine suffered the Chernobyl disaster more than three decades ago when it was still part of the Soviet Union. But the country still produces more than 53% of its electricity from nuclear power plants. It has 15 operational nuclear reactors with 13,107 MW of capacity. It has another two reactors under construction. Ukraine imports much of its nuclear supplies from Russia.
The 19 nuclear reactors in Canada produce 15% of the country’s total electricity. The nuclear plants have a total capacity of 13,554 MW. Canada has been investing in nuclear technology since the end of the Second World War. The country has its own line of nuclear reactors.
7- India, 22
India has 22 operational nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 6,255 MW. It has another seven reactors currently under construction. Nuclear energy accounts for merely 3.1% of India’s total electricity use. The country aims to increase the share of nuclear energy to 25% of its total electricity consumption by 2050.
6- South Korea, 25
South Korea has 25 nuclear reactors that produce 23.7% of the country’s total electricity. The reactors have a combined capacity of 23,784 MW. It has another three reactors under construction. South Korea has also been exporting nuclear reactors to other countries such as the United Arab Emirates.
5- Russia, 36
Russia has 36 nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 28,355 MW. Nuclear energy accounts for 18% of the country’s total electricity output. Russia is also a leading exporter of reactors and other nuclear goods.
4- Japan, 37
Japan has 37 nuclear reactors in operation. Most of the Japanese nuclear reactors were stopped following the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Its nuclear energy production has declined significantly since the incident. Nuclear energy accounts for 6.2% of Japan’s electricity use.
3- China, 48
China has been building new nuclear power plants like no other country. According to Statista, China has 11 nuclear reactors currently under construction. The country has 48 operational reactors with a total capacity of 42,858 MW. Only 4.2% of China’s electricity is generated by nuclear power plants.
2- France, 58
Just like the United States, France aggressively built nuclear power plants in the 1960s and 1970s. It is also a leading exporter of nuclear goods. Nuclear energy accounts for a staggering 72% of the country’s total electricity output. France also exports excess electricity to its neighboring countries.
1-United States, 96
The United States is home to the most nuclear reactors in the world. Its 96 reactors have a combined capacity of 97,565 MW. In 2018, about 19.3% of its total electricity was produced by nuclear power plants. The commercial nuclear reactors in the US are facing serious threats to their profitability and survival.