Nuclear power plants currently operate in 31 countries. Most are in Europe, North America, East Asia and South Asia. The United States is the largest producer of nuclear power, while France has the largest share of electricity generated by nuclear power. In 2010, before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, it was reported that an average of about 10 nuclear reactors were expected to become operational per year, although according to the World Nuclear Association, of the 17 civilian reactors planned to become operational between 2007 and 2009, only five actually came on stream. Global nuclear electricity generation in 2012 was at its lowest level since 1999.
China has the fastest growing nuclear power program with 28 new reactors under construction, and a considerable number of new reactors are also being built in India, Russia and South Korea. At the same time, at least 100 older and smaller reactors will "most probably be closed over the next 10–15 years".
Some countries operated nuclear reactors in the past but have currently no operating nuclear plants. Among them, Italy closed all of its nuclear stations by 1990 and nuclear power has since been declared illegal in a referendum. Lithuania, Kazakhstan and Armenia are planning to reintroduce nuclear power in the future.
Several countries are currently operating nuclear power plants but are planning a nuclear power phase-out. These are Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. Other countries, like Netherlands, Sweden, and Taiwan are also considering a phase-out. Austria never started to use its first nuclear plant that was completely built.
Due to financial, political and technical reasons, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, and Poland never completed the construction of their first nuclear plants, and Australia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ghana, Ireland, Kuwait, Oman, Peru, Singapore, and Venezuela never built their planned first nuclear plants.
Of the 31 countries in which nuclear power plants operate, only France, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belgium, and Hungary use them as the source for a majority of the country's electricity supply. Other countries have significant amounts of nuclear power generation capacity. According to the World Nuclear Association, a nuclear power advocacy group, as of 2012 over 45 countries were giving "serious consideration" to introducing a nuclear power capability, with Belarus, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam at the forefront. China, India and South Korea are pursuing ambitious expansions of their nuclear power capacities, with China aiming to increase capacity to at least 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030 and 400 GWe by 2050. South Korea plans to expand its nuclear capacity from 20.7 GWe in 2012 to 27.3 GWe in 2020 and to 43 GWe by 2030. India aims to have 14.6 GWe nuclear power generation capacity by 2020 and 63 GWe by 2032 and to have 25% of all electricity supplied by nuclear power by 2050.
|Share of total
|Korea, Republic of||25||23077||154306.65||30.3%|
|World total||451||392,553 MWe||2,476 TWh||10.9%|
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The first nuclear reactor, known as Chicago Pile-1, was built in the United States and achieved criticality on December 2, 1942. The reactor was part of the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb. The United Kingdom, Canada, and the USSR proceeded to research and develop nuclear industries over the course of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
On June 27, 1954, the USSR's Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant became the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid, and produced around 5 megawatts of electric power. Later in 1954, Lewis Strauss, then chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission (U.S. AEC, forerunner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the United States Department of Energy) spoke of electricity in the future being "too cheap to meter". Strauss was very likely referring to hydrogen fusion —which was secretly being developed as part of Project Sherwood at the time—but Strauss's statement was interpreted as a promise of very cheap energy from nuclear fission. The U.S. AEC itself had issued far more realistic testimony regarding nuclear fission to the U.S. Congress only months before, projecting that "costs can be brought down... [to]... about the same as the cost of electricity from conventional sources..."
|References and notes|
|Bulgaria||2||0||Four reactors were shut down in 2004 and 2007. Belene Nuclear Power Plant construction was officially terminated in March 2012.|
|China||38||19||58 GWe by 2020|
|Egypt||0||0||4 reactors expected to be completed by 2024.|
|Finland||4||1||As of 2012, TVO is planning a new reactor to be built and operational by 2020.|
|France||58||1||First French EPR under construction at Flamanville|
|Germany||8||0||Phase-out in place by 2022.|
|Hungary||4||0||Paks2 [2*1200MW] signed with Rosatom in 2014.|
|India||22||6||Six reactors with a cumulative capacity of 4300 MW are under construction as of 2016.|
|Iran||1||0||The first reactor of Bushehr Plant has power generation capacity of 915 MW|
|Jordan||0||0||2 reactors expected to be built by 2021|
|Japan||42||2||After Fukushima, Japan shut down all of its 54 nuclear reactors, 12 of them permanently; 42 remain in operational condition, of which 24 have requested permission to restart, and 5 reactors have been restarted.|
|Pakistan||5||2||KANUUP-II and KANUUP-III are under construction and are expected to be completed by 2020.|
|Romania||2||0||20 January 2011, GDF Suez, Iberdrola and RWE pulled out of the project.|
|Russia||35||7||7 new reactors expected to be completed by 2020|
|Saudi Arabia||0||0||16 nuclear power reactors over the next 25 years|
|South Africa||2||0||South Africa will be building a further 9600 MW, 6-8 reactors, by 2030|
|Kuwait||0||0||4 Reactors planned Too be built by 2022|
|Switzerland||5||0||Phase-out in place, first decommissioning 2029.|
|Taiwan||6||2||All nuclear power plants planned to be phased-out by 2025, however, the viability of this is highly uncertain.|
|Ukraine||15||2||2 new reactors by 2018.|
|United Arab Emirates||0||4||4 reactors expected to be operational 2018–2020|
World electricity generation by fuels in 2015; from the international Energy Agency report Key World Energy Statistic, 2016 edition.