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Nuclear power is used
in many places of the planet

How Is Nuclear Energy Used in the World?

Nuclear power began to develop during the first decade of 1940. Initially, the aim was to create and produce the atomic bomb. Later, after the cold war, research began on other uses of nuclear energy; the investigation focused on the peaceful use of atomic energy.

How is nuclear energy used in the world?

Currently, 30 countries have nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity. In any case, the number of countries that take advantage of nuclear energy is much higher since countries such as Denmark and Italy, which do not have any atomic installation, obtain about 10% of their electricity from atomic energy imported from other countries.

Around 450 nuclear power reactors are operating worldwide. All these reactors together generate about 11% of the electrical energy consumed in the world. However, 60 more reactors are currently under construction, which would increase the power generated through nuclear energy by 16%.

In 2016, nuclear power plants supplied 2,477 TWh of electricity, compared to 2,441 TWh in 2015.

What Are the Sources of Electricity?

According to data from the IEA Electricity Information from 2017, the primary source of electricity generation was coal. Coal-fired power plants are the most used and in second place are gas power plants. 

The list of the sources of electricity ordered by use is as follows:

Energy source

Use of the world's electrical energy

Coal-fired power plants

39.3%

Gas power plants

22.9%

Hydropower

16%

Nuclear energy

10.6%

Other renewable energies (solar energy, wind power, and geothermal energy)

4.9%

Burning oil

4.1%

Other sources

2.2%


It implies that non-renewable energies continue to have a majority weight in electricity generation compared to renewable energy worldwide.

What Countries Have Nuclear Power Plants?

The countries in nuclear energy production are: 

France, China, Russia, South Korea, Canada, Ukraine, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, India, Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungary, South Africa, Slovakia, Mexico, Romania, Argentina, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Slovenia, the Netherlands, and Armenia.

In the ranking of countries with the highest electricity production through nuclear power plants, we find the United States in the first position, which in 2016 generated 805 TWh.

What Is the World Nuclear Association?

The World Nuclear Association is a confederation of companies related to the production of nuclear energy.

Its members encompass all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle, including

Together, the members of the ANM are responsible for 90% of nuclear energy production on the planet. It is also responsible for converting and uranium's enrichment of 90% of the world's uranium.

Nuclear Power in North America

Americans built the first nuclear reactor in the world. It was part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb.

After the Second World War, scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project founded The Federation of American Scientists is an American. It was a nonprofit global policy think tank with the stated intent of using science and scientific analysis to make the world more secure. FAS aims to reduce the number of nuclear arsenal weapons that over the world.

How Many Nuclear Power Plants Are in the United States?

The United States has 99 operable nuclear fission reactors, with a combined net capacity of 99.6 GWe. 

In 2017, nuclear power generated 20% of the country's electricity. Four AP1000 reactors had been built, but two of them have stopped. One of the reasons for the hiatus in new construction in the United States has been the highly successful evolution in maintenance strategies.

How Many Nuclear Power Plants Are in Canada?

How is nuclear energy used in the world?Canada has 19 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 13.5 GWe. In 2017, nuclear power generated 15% of the country's electricity.

In the first part of 2016, the government signed the necessary contracts to renovate and extend the useful life of six reactors at the Bruce generating station. The program will extend operational lives by 30-35 years.

How Many Nuclear Power Plants Are in Mexico?

Mexico has two operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 1.6 GWe. In 2017, nuclear power generated 6% of the country's electricity.

Nuclear Energy in South America

Atucha nuclear power plant, ArgentinaArgentina has three reactors, with a combined net capacity of 1.6 GWe (gigawatts of electricity). In 2017, the country generated 5% of its electricity from nuclear power.

Brazil has two reactors, with a combined net capacity of 1.9 GWe. In 2017, nuclear power generated 3% of the country's electricity.

Nuclear Power Plants in Western and Central Europe

The list of the countries which have atomicr reactors are:

Country

Number of reactors

Net capacity

Country's electricity production

Year

Belgium

7

5.9 GWe

50%

2017

Finland

4

2.8 GWe

33%

2017

France

58

63.1 GWe

72%

2017

Germany

7

9.4 GWe

12%

2017

The Netherlands

1

0.5 GWe

3%

2017

Spain

7

7.1 GWe

21%

2017

Sweden

8

8.4 GWe

40%

2017

Switzerland

5

3.3 GWe

33%

2017

United Kingdom

15

8.9 GWe

19%

2017

A 2015 energy policy aimed to reduce France's share of nuclear generation to 50% by 2025. In November 2017, the French government postponed this goal.

Germany is phasing out nuclear generation around 2022 as part of its Energiewende policy. Energiewende, widely identified as the most ambitious national climate change mitigation policy, has significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

Sweden is shutting down some older reactors but has invested heavily in operating life extensions and upgrades.

Nuclear Power Plants in Eastern Europe and Russia

The list of the countries which have atomic reactors are:

Country

Number of reactors

Net capacity

Country's electricity production

Year

Russia

35

26.9 GWe

18%

2017

Armenia

1

0.4 GWe

33%

2017

Bulgaria

2

1.9 GWe

34%

2017

Czech Republic

6

3.9 GWe

33%

2017

Hungary

4

1.9 GWe

50%

2017

Romania

2

1.3 GWe

18%

2017

Slovakia

4

1.8 GWe

54%

2017

Slovenia



39%

2017

Ukraine

15

13.1 GWe

55%

2017

In Russia, a government decree in 2016 specified the construction of 11 nuclear power reactors by 2030 and those already under construction. At the beginning of 2018, Russia had seven reactors under construction, with a combined capacity of 5.9 GWe.

Belarus has its first nuclear power plant under construction and plans to have two Russian reactors operating in 2019. Today, almost all of the country's electricity is produced from natural gas.

Nuclear Power Stations in Asia

The list of the countries which have nuclear reactors in Asia are:

Country

Number of reactors

Net capacity

Country's electricity production

Year

China

38

34.6 GWe

4%

2017

India

22

6.2 GWe

3%

2017

Japan

42

40 GWe

4%

2017

South Korea

24

22.5 GWe

27%

2017

Pakistan

5

1.4 GWe

6%

2017

The Indian government is committed to increasing its nuclear power capacity as part of its massive infrastructure development program.

In Japan, as of early 2018, only five reactors had been reconnected, with 21 more in the re-approval process following the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. In the past, 30% of the country's electricity came from nuclear power.

Bangladesh began construction of the first of two planned VVER-1200 reactors in 2017. It plans to have the first unit operational in 2023. Currently, the country produces virtually all of its electricity from fossil fuels.

Nuclear Energy in Africa

South Africa has two operable nuclear reactors and is the only African country that currently produces electricity from nuclear power. In 2017, nuclear power generated 7% of the country's electricity.

Iran has a single operable nuclear reactor with a net capacity of 0.9 GWe. In 2017, nuclear power generated 2% of the country's electricity.

The UAE is building four 1450 MWe South Korean reactors at the cost of more than $ 20 billion and is working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency and experienced international firms.

    Author:

    Published: December 11, 2009
    Last review: May 6, 2021