Despite Fukushima, Nuclear Keeps Powering Ahead

A few countries have scaled back in response to the disaster, but many others are building or planning new nuclear reactors.

The map above divides the world's nations into four categories, denoted by color, according to general nuclear ambitions. Countries that operate reactors and do not plan to scale back are shown in red; nations that responded to the Fukushima accident with plans to scale back or phase out nuclear are green; countries with no reactors but which plan to add nuclear capacity are pink. And countries with no formal plans but which have expressed interest in building their first reactors are yellow. Japan is its own color, black, to reflect the level of uncertainty there.
Sources: World Nuclear Association, International Atomic Energy Agency
Map made with JvectorMap by Will Knight and Dave Porter

The disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant a year ago prompted nations that generate atomic power to reëxamine the safety of their reactors, and even reëvaluate their nuclear ambitions.

Several countries have completely changed course. Japan has turned off 52 of its 54 reactors, and the future of nuclear power there is extremely uncertain. Germany shut down seven reactors, elected not to restart another that had been down for maintenance, and plans to decommission its remaining nine reactors by 2022. Italy, Switzerland, and Mexico have each retreated from plans to build new nuclear plants, and Belgium’s government, which took over in late 2011, wants to make the country nuclear-free by 2025.

Several other economically developed countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and France (whose 58 reactors provide around three-fourths of its electricity) are still generating roughly the same amount as they were before the Fukushima disaster, and maintain modest plans for future construction of additional reactors.

But the future of nuclear power in the developing world is a different story. China, which currently has 15 reactors connected to its grid, is building 26 more and has approval, funding, or major commitments in place to build 51 more, according to the World Nuclear Association. Russia, with 33 reactors, and India, with 20, are building a combined 16 more, with 34 more planned.

Dozens of countries have expressed interest in building their first nuclear reactor, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On the map above, roll your cursor over a country to see the number of operational reactors in each country, and the number under construction, or planned*.

*The World Nuclear Association defines a planned reactor as one for which approvals, funding, or major commitments are in place. The group expects planned reactors to be operational within eight to 10 years.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Online Only

$19.95/yr US PRICE


Can we transform how we power and feed the world in time to head off climate change?

You've read of free articles this month.