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The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

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2.2.4 The world’s nuclear power stations

In January 2015, 30 countries worldwide were operating 437 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 71 new nuclear plants are under construction in 15 countries. Nuclear power plants provided 12.3% of the world’s electricity production in 2012 according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Activity 2

Find out for yourself the distribution of nuclear power stations across the world and what type of reactors they are using via the Guardian nuclear power station interactive map [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (Clark, 2012).

Note the colour coding at the top which distinguishes between active and non-active power stations and those that are being built. As with street view you can drag the orange figure to the vicinity of the power stations and have a look around!

  • Find a power station that is planned or under construction. What type of reactor will be used?
  • At a glance, estimate which countries have the most nuclear reactors under construction.
  • Contrast the situation between France and Italy. Why do you think that the situation differs between these two countries?

Next, you’ll move on to think about nuclear waste.