Discover the world's top countries for nuclear power

Up until 2010 Japan was the world's thrid largest producer of nuclear power. However after Fukushima, Japan rapidly decreased in the rankings to 29 out of 29 based on countries have generated nuclear power in the recent years.

The chart below (produced by carbon brief) highlights the world's top countries for nuclear power based on annual electricity output. The graph highlights the growth of nations such as South Korea, China and Iran.


The world's 29 current atomic energy states, ranked by electricity output in terawatt hours in each year between 1985 and 2014. The US and France have been the world's top two generators of nuclear power throughout. Source: BP statistical review of world energy. Charts by Carbon Brief.

Source: Chart, Source: BP statistical review of world energy


If Japan does meet its pledge in the UN climate process it could be capable of reclaiming its place in the table. Japan is aiming to source 20-22% of electricity from nuclear power by 2030. 


Of the 54 nuclear reactors operating pre-Fukushima, 11 have been permanently closed, 5 have approval to be restarted and another 19 are currently awaiting a decision on whether to restart plans. A further 19 plants are also awaiting perimission to be reopened.


It is likely that China will continue to rise up the rankings of nuclear power as it continues to expand massively, building 24 of it's planned 62 plants.


Russia also has eight reactors under construction and India six, ranking second and third in the new nuclear league table. The US has five and South Korea four sites under construction.


Power has started to flow at four Chinese reactors this year, along with one in South Korea. This equals the five reactors that have opened around the world in each of the past two years.


At the height of its nuclear expansion, France was cutting carbon emissions by 5% a year. This is often cited as the highest rate of decarbonisation ever sustained outside of economic collapse.


Atomic energy remains unpopular however, particularly in some central European countries that witnessed both the buildup of nuclear arms during the cold war and the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster.


Others, like the UK, China or Japan see nuclear power as a vital part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions. While new nuclear plants are continuing to be built, the rate is behind that needed to maintain current levels of output — let alone to raise nuclear’s share of the global electricity mix. If that doesn’t change, the International Energy Agency says the world’s climate goals will be at risk.


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