Who’s operating nuclear power plants, and building more?
Nuclear power is controversial. Some people say that in the mid-term, nuclear power plants are considered to be the most efficient transitional solution for achieving global climate goals. Others point to the expense, unresolved question of final storage of radioactive waste, and potential safety risks from an accident.
The World Nuclear Association reports that today there are about 440 nuclear power reactors operating in 32 countries plus Taiwan. Many of these reactors were built in the 1970s, meaning they are becoming very old.
Despite some nuclear programs having ended (and many more scheduled for phase-out), the number of nuclear programs in the world has plateaued for many decades, as shown by this infographic by Katharina Buchholz, a data journalist with Statista.You will find more infographics at Statista
As her graphic shows, while the number of national nuclear energy programs has plateaued, the relative importance of the technology has declined as the capacity of other energy types outgrew nuclear.
In 2021, the technology produced less than 10 percent of global electricity, down from a high of 17.4 percent in 1995 and 1996. Looking at all of the world’s energy needs, not just electricity, nuclear contributed just 4.3 percent.
As this next infographic using data from the World Nuclear Association shows, no country is currently committed more to a nuclear future than China.You will find more infographics at Statista
Statista data journalist Martin Armstrong writes, “The Asian superpower currently has 24 new nuclear reactors planned or being built, with one new power plant to be connected to the grid this year. The United Arab Emirates and Turkey are also planning to connect one new power plant each, and in South Korea there are two more in the pipeline for this year.”
In second place is India, which plans to have eight new nuclear power plants built and connected to the grid by 2027, followed by the Turkey with four and South Korea with three reactors.
Canada has a nuclear program, with 6 nuclear plants at three stations in Ontario, and one in New Brunswick. The Bruce generating station is the largest operating nuclear power plant in the world, according to the Canadian government.
- Read “The Countries Committing to Nuclear Power” by Martin Armstrong, published by Statista on September 26, 2023
(Cover: Pickering Canada, May 24, 2022; Close up of one of generating units containment buildings at the Ontario Power Generation Pickering Nuclear electric plant on the shore of Lake Ontario near Toronto)