Top 10 Countries with the Most Nuclear Reactors in the World 2024
The State of Nuclear Industry Report states that after declining at a similar rate in 2021, the production of nuclear power worldwide increased by 3.9% in 2021.
There are 411 nuclear reactors in operation worldwide as of early 2023, which is a decrease of more than 18 from 2012. 53 reactors are currently being built, and 29 reactors are in long-term storage. That’s over half in India and China.
Nuclear power has received less investment and development due to the quick rise of renewable energy sources and the public’s unfavorable perception of nuclear energy following tragedies like Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Nuclear power’s percentage of the world’s electricity production has decreased from 17.5% in 1996 to just 9.8% in 2021 as a result of numerous nations abandoning or postponing their nuclear policies.
As per the aforementioned report, there are 33 countries in the world that have nuclear power reactors in operation at the moment, and only 15 countries are actively pursuing nuclear technology. Notably, two of these countries, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), only began producing nuclear electricity in 2020.
The world’s nuclear power with the fastest rate of growth is China. There are currently 55 nuclear reactors in the nation, the majority of which have only been linked to the grid in the last ten years. Nuclear power was first used in the country in the early 1990s.
As of July 2022, the US had 92 reactors operating, making it the nuclear energy superpower of the world. But compared to a decade ago, there are 12 fewer reactors now.
Japan has had the biggest decline in nuclear reactor count over the last ten years, with 34 reactors decommissioned.
Japan, which currently has just ten reactors in service, is anticipated to formally stop building new facilities very soon.
Only three nations with nuclear energy programs have completed the shutdown of all of their reactors to date. These were Lithuania in 2009, Italy in 1987, and Kazakhstan in 1998. In response to the energy crisis, Germany recently extended the operation of a few reactors; however, by 2020 or 2023, nuclear power production is anticipated to cease.
With a mean age of 41.6 years, the 92 nuclear reactors in operation in the United States are the third oldest in the world. Only Belgium’s (42.3 years) and Switzerland’s (46.3 years) nuclear fleets are older.
According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, the United States is currently one of only 15 nations actively pursuing nuclear energy. This includes more recent nuclear programs launched in the last ten years in the United Arab Emirates, Belarus, and Iran, as well as a more recent program in China that began generating electricity in 1991 and currently has a mean reactor fleet age of only nine years.
Despite having a nuclear energy program in place since 1969, India has seen far more recent construction than the United States, with a mean reactor age of 24.2 years as of right now.
Since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, public concern over Thailand’s lack of nuclear power has grown.
But in an effort to tackle climate change, US Vice President Kamala Harris declared in November 2022 that Washington would assist Thailand in developing small nuclear reactors. Because these furnaces can be turned off in an emergency without the need for human intervention, they will be safe.
According to the White House, Thailand will receive technical support from the US to implement small, transportable, modular reactor technology. Additionally, compared to other alternative energy sources, they occupy less space.
Because these reactors can shut down in an emergency without the need for human intervention, they are generally regarded as safer.
With the intention of doubling the number of nuclear and renewable energy plants in this nation, France has drafted a bill to streamline the administrative processes for licensing new nuclear plants in the wake of the global energy crisis.
With plans to construct at least six new reactors, French President Emmanuel Macron has made nuclear power a key component of his strategy to reach his goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.
According to Minister Pannier-Runacher, the purpose of the bill is to expedite the granting of administrative permits in order to fulfill the schedule for building a European pressurized reactor (EPR). For reactors constructed close to older nuclear reactors, this measure would streamline the administrative licensing procedure.
The national energy agency of France reports that the nation has 56 nuclear power plants, which generate 70% of the nation’s electricity.
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