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Operable nuclear reactors worldwide 2020, by country

The statistic shows the number of operable nuclear reactors as of April 2020, by country. In the United Kingdom, 15 nuclear power reactors were in operation as of this time. Operable nuclear reactors are those connected to the grid.

Currently, there are 440 nuclear reactors in operation in some 30 countries around the world. One of the largest plants is situated in France, where about 70 percent of total electricity generation was derived from nuclear sources in 2018. In 2011, the alliance between General Electric and Hitachi was ranked as the third largest maker of nuclear reactors, behind France’s Areva and Russia-based Rosatom. In 2050, global nuclear power capacity is projected to reach 506 gigawatts.

History of nuclear energy generation

In 1954, history was made when nuclear fission technology was approved for commercial purposes and the first nuclear power plant started operation in the Russian city of Obninsk. For the first time, it was possible to meet the demand of an increasingly energy-thirsty world – at a reasonable price, too. The new energy proved to be an extremely reliable and stable form of electricity. Since nuclear power plants are only shut down for refuelling every two years or so, they provide an around-the-clock “baseload” supply of power to the people.

In nuclear fission, uranium atoms are split apart into lighter elements. Uranium is a radioactive metal that is extracted from mines, mainly in Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia. After the uranium splitting process, the used fuel elements are still radioactive and have to be stored in nuclear waste repositories or spent fuel pools. These sites are often underground and require thick metal or concrete walls to shield the public from radiation.

Number of operable nuclear reactors worldwide as of April 2020, by country

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Release date

May 2020



Survey time period

As of April 2020

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Statistics on "Nuclear power in the U.S."

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