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Interactive Maps: Worldwide Nuclear Power

By David Kroodsma, Climate Central

As the world continues to watch the crisis at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant unfold, many are asking what the repercussions will be for the future of nuclear power. First, though, we must understand the current state of the nuclear industry: Where are the world’s nuclear power plants located? How much electricity do these plants produce? How much more nuclear generating capacity is planned, and for where?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that about 16 percent of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power, and that given pre-Fukushima plans, this percentage would stay roughly constant over the next two decades, barring any major changes in policy.

The maps below, which come courtesy of Katherine Marvel, a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, show where the world’s nuclear reactors are presently located and how many more are planned. (Roll over the maps to see the values).

Number of Nuclear Reactors


 

Percent of Electricity from Nuclear Power

 

 

Before Fukushima, there were 443 functioning nuclear power plants in the world. About 62 were under construction, and another 324 were in various stages of planning. (This data comes from the World Nuclear Association, a nuclear power advocacy organization).

The world’s nuclear power is concentrated in a handful of countries: Of the world’s 192 countries, only 30 have nuclear power plants, and 75 percent of global nuclear generation is concentrated in just eight countries: The United States, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, India, the U.K., and Canada. Membership in the "nuclear power club," though, is set to expand considerably if current proposals come to fruition.

The following eleven countries lack nuclear power today, but are planning to build or are building power plants: United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Turkey, Poland, Belarus, Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, and Kazakhastan. Another eight countries: Israel, Italy, North Korea, Thailand, Lithuania, Chile, Italy, and Malaysia, have proposed to build power plants.

Number of Nuclear Reactors Under Construction

Number of Nuclear Reactors Planned


 

Number of Nuclear Reactors Proposed

  • Operating = Connected to the grid.
  • Under Construction = first concrete for reactor poured, or major refurbishment under way.
  • Planned = Approvals, funding or major commitment in place, mostly expected in operation within 8-10 years.
  • Proposed = Specific program or site proposals, expected operation mostly within 15 years.   

Another fact shown by the graphics is that although many countries have proposed or are planning to construct nuclear power plants, only China is aggressively building them — they have proposed 110 and are building 27. By comparison, the United States has 23 proposed reactors, but only three are under construction. One of them, located in southern Tennessee, was begun in the 1980s, put on hold for 20 years, and is only now being completed. Site work has also started for two new reactors to be built at Plant Vogtle, Georgia.

The disparity between planned power plants and plants under construction raises the question of how many of these proposed plants will actually be built. Also, the expansion of nuclear power to new countries raises issues related to nuclear proliferation — if new nuclear countries also build their own facilities to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants, then more nations could also make material for nuclear weapons, since an enrichment plant can make both.  And what these maps do not show is what would be built instead of these nuclear plants, should they not move forward. In place of nuclear power, will these countries invest in coal, natural gas, hydropower, solar, wind energy, or improved efficiency of electricity use?

Answering these questions will require continued work to balance the benefits and risks of nuclear energy against the growing energy demands of society.

« Charged

Comments

By Ree (Rancho Cucamoonga CA 91701)
on March 30th, 2011

When will we learn?  Does it have to take a disaster to even get people to stop and do something?  WHY?? Nuclear plants WE DO NOT NEED THEM!!!

How about going with safe energy!  Is that to hard to understand, we have the solar and wind, even the ocean can be used to produce energy.  So why do we keep using nuclear power? 

Cement those suckers and let’s clean up this mess.  We created it, we have to clean it up NOW.

I believe everyone, no matter how much it costs.  Install solar power on our homes and let’s stop this madness.

So far in my neighborhood I see more and more solar panels going up.  We are going to put them on our house very soon. 

Let’s start to help ourselves for once.  Clean, good, safe energy.

START TODAY INSTALL SOLAR ON YOUR HOUSE.  SAVE THE WORLD AND SAVE OUR CHILDREN FROM A WORLD OF illness and grief.  SOLAR TODAY!!!!!!

NO MORE NUCLEAR PLANTS,  SHUT THEM DOWN NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply to this comment

By Lee (Reno, NV)
on June 26th, 2014

Because no event in the history of earth for the past 400 million years compares in energy with annual solar heating, not the Chicxulub meteor, not the Siberian Traps, not the Deccan Traps, not the LaGarita Explosive eruption, not all the nuclear bombs ever produced by humanity—no the five past life extinctions on this planet derived from events that changed the earths heat absorption less than 1 to 2 %. Furthermore please think how delicate human life is compared to the ability of evolution in general.  A few mammals may evolve, but can humanity survive?

Add this, half the worlds fossil fuel use is for transport (cars, trucks, industrial, airplanes, ships, etc) and heating (homes, buildings, hospitals, etc). I have been involved in solar/wind power since early 1980s, its ok, even good when its backup can be green (CO2 clean)—but there is no possibility that it can even slightly help avoid the 6th extinction without massive nuclear power.

Humanity is now running an experiment with life extinction (similar to 5 life extinctions of the past). Many of us would rather not. The life extinction interval need be only a galactic second (less than 500 years) while the time to restore thermal balance from a 1 to 2 % absorption change may be tens of thousands of years.

Reply to this comment

By Phil Studge
on March 31st, 2011

It’s a bit misleading to have all of the US dark blue.  There are exactly zero nuclear power plants in Alaska, for example, yet the graphic suggests it is rife with them.

It would be more informative to break up the States by region (or even by states), IMO.

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By David Kroodsma (94110)
on March 31st, 2011

Phil: Yes, the above map doesn’t break up the location of plants at the sub-national level. If you want to see where the plants in the United States are, you can use this Climate Central map: http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/nukes-and-quakes/

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By Asteroid Miner
on March 31st, 2011

Nuclear power is the safest kind, bar none, for everybody. 

Deaths per terrawatt year [twy] for energy industries, including
Chernobyl.  terra=mega mega [There are zero sources of energy
that cause zero deaths, but not having the electricity causes the
far more deaths because not having electricity is a form of poverty.]

fuel…...... ........fatalities… .....who…...... .......deaths per twy
coal…...... .........6400…... ......workers…........ .........342
natural gas….. ..1200…... .....workers and public… ...85
hydro…..... .......4000….. .......public…......... ............883
nuclear…..... .........31…... ......workers…......... .............8

Nuclear power is proven to be the safest.  Source:  “The Revenge
of Gaia” by James Lovelock page 102.  As you can see,
psychological problems are preventing the wider use of nuclear
power.  Chernobyl is included.

I have no connection with the nuclear power industry.  I have
never had any connection with the nuclear power industry.  I am
not being paid by anyone to say this.  My sole motive is
to avoid death in the collapse of civilization and to avoid
extinction due to global warming.

Reply to this comment

By average joe
on March 31st, 2011

@Asteroid Miner - That’s hardly a complete accounting.  To create quantities of the world’s most toxic waste that will remain so longer into the future than the Phoenicians were in the past with no way to guaranty their sequestration for that duration to benefit only a few brief generations is criminally irresponsible.  Apparently hubris knows no bounds.

Reply to this comment

By Human Being (100001)
on April 1st, 2011

Actually the safest form of energy are solar and wind.  Nuclear energy is the most unsafe form of energy in history of mankind. Each reactor has to be assumed to be presiding in a safe and credible government regime with estimated safety of at least 50 years, and each spent fuel rod has to be guaranteed safety for 20,000, a period which we have no way to even know how language can survive to warn of hidden spent fuel. Recent findings of leaked spent fuel in bottom of North sea from stored material of the last few decades has shown that even the Fukishiima reactor, one of the best made in the world, by no means is safe. The problem is that, in the case of simon says, the worst case scenario has a human cost more than the net sum of the investment.. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will die younger now because of radiation from Japan, and many of them are wealthy.  Imagine if a country less prepared and perfectionist than japan having a problem like this in the next 50 years.  Do you love nuclear energy that much? Why not invite the plants downtown? Why not drink the water from nuclear reactors? Come on? Shy? Be a man!

Reply to this comment

By Martin (South Africa)
on April 1st, 2011

The SA government just released its new growth plan in it much needed upgrade of the national electricity grid. A massive increase of nuclear reactors (possibly pebble-bed) are planned. As over 90% of South African power is generated from coal, the new plan has two benefits. firstly, less coal plants are planned than the previous plan that excluded nuclear. The costs savings that nuclear provides has made it possible to increase the number of renewable energy generation exponentially. The long-term plan (50 years) is to use nuclear to fuel a renewable future.

South Africa generates power for export to neighbouring countries making its power decisions incredibly important. Nuclear will also be needed for desalination as the country will experience a permanent water shortage from 2020.

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By Clean World (76086)
on April 1st, 2011

@ Asteroid Miner: The biggest problem with nuclear power is the waste, which remains dangerous for thousands of years and for which there is no acceptable method of disposal. While worker safety is important, when one considers nuclear power, one must consider the overall fallout from a meltdown or other disaster. I’m certainly not supporting our current mainstream sources of energy, but to suggest that nuclear power is the “safe” alternative is just not accurate.

Reply to this comment

By Richard Van Noorden
on April 6th, 2011

For an info-rich google map showing the exact location of all civilian nuclear power plants, see Nature’s The Great Beyond blog: http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2011/03/the_worlds_nuclear_reactors_as_1.html

Reply to this comment

By Cmon Think
on June 14th, 2011

How is it that death rates from radiation are still being quoted as though factual?
Cmon Asteroid Miner - think..
It is impossible to conclusively confirm the cause of a cancer.  So of course the nuclear industry will only quote figures of utterly irrefutable deaths which directly resulted from the radiation emitted.
What is IRREFUTABLE is that radioactive isotopes, when ingested or inhaled cause genetic and irreparable damage to DNA.  This can result in cancer or in genetic mutation to ones progeny or it can result in a miriad of unnatural and unfortunate small scale health issues such as immune system failure etc - It would all depend where the damaged DNA lies. 
The fact is we dont know how many people are affected by cancer from nuclear power accidents or normal emmissions.
What we DO know is that radioactive isotopes (as emitted routinely and on a large scale after an accident) cause DNA double strand breaks.  Which is a primary cause for cancer.
Anyone who quotes a figure on death rates (such as due to Chernobyl) is simply admitting their insincerity or allegience

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