Nuclear Energy Worldwide

The companies that are leading the development of nuclear generation in the UK are also at the forefront of a worldwide nuclear renaissance. The UK supply chain has the opportunity to contribute to the growth in nuclear capacity that is taking place in every region of the world.

There are currently over 60 nuclear power reactors under construction in 14 countries around the world, more than 160 are planned with a potential net capacity of 198,580 MWe, and over three hundred additional reactors are proposed.

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Source - World Nuclear Association, as of 7 October 2015, click here for the full table of data

Sixteen countries depend on nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electricity. France generates around three quarters of its power from nuclear energy, while Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia and Ukraine get one third or more. South Korea, Bulgaria and Finland normally get more than 30% of their power from nuclear energy, while in the USA, UK, Spain and Russia almost one fifth is from nuclear. Among countries which do not host nuclear power plants, Italy and Denmark get almost 10% of their power from nuclear.

Increasing energy demand, concerns over climate change and dependence on overseas supplies of fossil fuels are coinciding to make the case for increasing use of nuclear power.

Countries with established programmes are seeking to replace old reactors as well as expanding existing capacity through plant upgrading, and an additional 45 countries are either considering or have already decided to make nuclear energy part of their power generation mix.  However, most (over 80%) of the expansion in this century is likely to be in countries already using nuclear power.

  • Mainland China has 22 nuclear power reactors in operation, 26 under construction, and more about to start construction. Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give a four-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020, then possibly 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050
  • India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program and expects to have 14,600 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.

  • The UAE accepted a $20 billion bid from a South Korean consortium to build four commercial nuclear power reactors, total 5.6 GWe, by 2020 at Barakah. Construction of the first unit started in July 2012, and the second in May 2013.

  • Communities in Finland and Sweden have accepted the local construction of permanent disposal sites for nuclear waste.

A World Nuclear Association exercise "Nuclear Century Outlook" projects possible expansion in world nuclear generating capacity.  Developed in 2008 the Outlook is unique in nature and scope. Many nuclear projections extend just to 2030 and assume business-as-usual behaviour. The Outlook encompasses these scenarios but looks further into the future - with both optimistic and pessimistic assumptions. The focus of the report is to examine the potential for nuclear energy to contribute to emissions reductions. It does not attempt to predict future nuclear capacity.From a base of 373 GWe today it projects the potential for at least 1130 GWe by 2060 and up to 3500 GWe by then.  The upper projection for 2100 is 11,000 GWe.

An important element in this global expansion of nuclear power is that international cooperation and commerce is growing. Major nuclear industry companies span several countries, giving much enhanced international collaboration. At the same time, countries with an established nuclear industry can, through formal international collaboration under the auspices of the IAEA, assist developing countries to gain access to advanced technologies, helping them to address poverty without emissions of greenhouse gases.

For more information on UK government export support visit, whilst export control information is available here.

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Projected figures and timelines given here are referenced from the World Nuclear Association (WNA). Visit the WNA website where a host of public information is made available. Or click on the following links for the in-depth articles relating to planned reactors and emerging nuclear energy countries.


For daily information on the global nuclear scene visit World Nuclear News at




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