Nuclear reactor chart: How China is leading the charge for nuclear power

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Nuclear power generation has dropped as many countries have turned away in favour of investing in renewables. But there are some parts of the world where nuclear energy programmes are growing fast. Here’s a look into the production of nuclear power globally.

Global nuclear power generation dropped 3.9 percent in 2021 according to the 2021 World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

But it climbed by a significant 4.4 percent in China.

China has the fastest-growing nuclear energy programme in the world, having added two new reactors to its nuclear programme last year alone.

Despite this, the popularity of nuclear power has fallen for the rest of the world.

According to the report, 33 countries continue to run nuclear power reactors but just 14 are said to be actively pursuing the technology.

Which countries are still pursuing nuclear technology?

China and France both have a large nuclear energy programme.

Other countries with active nuclear programmes in 2021 include:

  • Russia
  • South Korea

  • India
  • Canada
  • Ukraine
  • UK
  • Japan

Some nuclear energy newcomers include Belarus and the United Arab Emirates, both countries only started their nuclear programmes in 2020.

The US still has the largest nuclear energy programme in the world, although it is in decline as the country is pursuing other power generation options.

Why are people against nuclear power?

Many see renewables as the future of power generation.

This coupled with negative public attitudes towards nuclear energy created by disasters such as those in Chernobyl or Fukushima has seen its popularity decline.

Three countries that once had thriving nuclear energy programmes have so far shit off all their reactors, these were Italy, Kazakhstan and Lithuania.

Japan is expected to officially abandon new nuclear energy construction soon.

Nuclear power has been experiencing a slow decline from a 17.5 percent peak share of global electricity generation in 1996 to a share of only 10.1 percent in 2020.

Most countries, apart from China, Belarus, United Arab Emirates are putting their programmes on hold or they are abandoning their nuclear programmes completely.

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