Nuclear energy policy by country

Nuclear energy policy by country


Following the March 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accidents, China, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Malaysia, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the Philippines are reviewing their nuclear power programs. Indonesia and Vietnam still plan to build nuclear power plants.[1][2][3][4] Countries such as Australia, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, North Korea, and Norway remain opposed to nuclear power.[5]


Country installation under construction plans to build plans to phase out nuclear restriction policy[citation needed]
Albania no no yes?
Algeria research only yes
Argentina yes
Armenia yes
Australia no no no yes
Austria no Nuclear reactions are forbidden by law. 1978, prolonged in 1997
Bangladesh no no
Belarus no no yes no no
Belgium yes no yes
Brazil yes
Bulgaria yes yes  ?  ? no
Burma no
Chile no no research is done no no
Croatia no, but shared plant in Slovenia no
Czech Republic yes no yes no  ?
Denmark no no no no 1985 law prohibits production
Egypt no no
Ghana research reactor yes
Germany yes no no yes
Greece no no no no yes?
Hong Kong no, but shared plant no no, but usage is planned to increase n/a The Hong Kong Government has planned to increase the share of nuclear power in electricity consumption from 23% in 2009 progressively to 50%. The CLP Power owns minority stake in the Daya Bay nuclear power station and consumes 70% of the electricity it produces. [6] The Hong Kong Government indicated that they will take the Fukushima accidents into consideration. [7]
Hungary yes  ?  ? no no
Ireland no no yes  ? yes?
Israel no
Iran yes
Italy no (old plants are inactive) no no no moratorium after 1987 referendum expired on 2009, another 1-year moratorium was passed in March 2011, but 2011 referendum abrogated regulations allowing for the production of nuclear power within the territory
Kenya no research yes no no
Lithuania yes no yes no no
Luxembourg no no no no no
Malta no no no no no
Mexico yes no no no
Morocco no research yes no no
Netherlands yes no yes no no
Nigeria research no no no no
New Zealand no no no no yes
Norway no no no no yes?
Portugal no, research only no no no yes[citation needed]
Poland yes no yes no no
Slovakia yes  ?  ?  ? no
Slovenia yes no  ?  ? no
South Africa yes yes
Spain yes  ?  ?  ? no
Switzerland yes no no yes no
Syria no
Tunisia no no yes, but not very specific
Turkey no no yes no no
Uruguay no
Venezuela no no stopped after 2011 Fukushima no no
Vietnam  ? yes no no






Kenya aims to build a 1,000 MWe nuclear power plant by 2017.




South Africa

South Africa is the only country in Africa with a commercial nuclear power plant and it currently has an expansion policy.




Bangladesh considered building a nuclear power plant for the first time in 1961. Since then, several feasibility studies have been carried out, affirming the feasibility of the project. In 1963 the Rooppur site was selected. More recently, in 2001 Bangladesh adopted a national Nuclear Power Action Plan.[8] On 24 June 2007, Bangladesh's government announced it will build a nuclear power plant to meet electricity shortages.[9] The first nuclear power plant with a generation capacity between 700 and 1,000 MW will be installed by 2015 at Rooppur in Pabna district.[10]


China has 11 reactors operating, 20 reactors under construction, and is planning or proposing over 100 additional ones. 60 GWe of capacity is planned to go online by 2020, with an increase to 120–160 GWe by 2030.[11][12] However, according to a government research unit, China must not build "too many nuclear power reactors too quickly", in order to avoid a shortfall of fuel, equipment and qualified plant workers.[13]

Gulf states

Six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman) have announced that the Council is commissioning a study on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. In February 2007 they agreed with the IAEA to cooperate on a feasibility study for a regional nuclear power and desalination program.[8]

The United Arab Emirates adopted a national policy on nuclear energy in July 2008 and a national nuclear energy law on 4 October 2009. According to the law and the policy document, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation was established.[14][15] Memorandums of understanding on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy are signed with France, the United States and the United Kingdom.[16][17][18] In December 2009, the UAE decided to build a nuclear power plant with four APR1400 reactors. The first reactor to be developed by the Korea Electric Power is to come on line in 2017.[19] The plant will be located at Braka, 53 kilometres (33 mi) from Ruwais.[20]

On 29 March 2008, Bahrain signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy with the United States.[21]


India has 20 reactors operating, 6 reactors under construction, and is planning an additional 4, with 15 more proposed.[11][22]

Following the Fukushima I nuclear accidents, many are questioning the mass roll-out of new plants in India, especially the massive Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project which has attracted many protests.[23]


In the mid 1990s, Indonesia conducted a feasibility study into constructing 12 nuclear power plants. The plan was postponed due to criticism from environmentalists and the Asian regional economic crisis in 1997.[24][25] In 2006, Indonesian Government announced a plan to build its first major nuclear power plant on Muria peninsula, Jepara district, Central Java by 2015. However, this decision is not final yet.[26] This plan is heavily criticized by environmental organisations.[27]

In June 2007 was announced that in Gorontalo will be set up 70 MW floating nuclear power plant of Russian origin.[28]


In the mid 1970s, Iran started construction of two PWR units at [Bushehr], but the project was suspended in 1979. In 1994, Russia agreed to complete unit 1 of Bushehr nuclear power plant and it was expected to be completed late in 2007. Also second reactor is planned at Bushehr. It also announced that a new nuclear power plant is to be built at Darkhovin in Khūzestān Province, where two plants were about to be constructed in 1970s.[8] Currently, Iran has reported that a power plant at Bushehr is operational.[29]


Israel has no nuclear power plants. However, in January 2007, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer said his country should consider producing nuclear power for civilian purposes.[30] As a result of the nuclear emergencies at Japan's Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, on March 17, 2011, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Israel would not develop nuclear power.[31][32][33]


The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the worst nuclear accident in 25 years, displaced 50,000 households after radiation leaked into the air, soil and sea.[34] Radiation checks led to bans of some shipments of vegetables and fish.[35]

Nuclear energy was a national strategic priority in Japan, but there has been concern about the ability of Japan's nuclear plants to withstand seismic activity. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant was completely shut down for 21 months following an earthquake in 2007.

Following an earthquake, tsunami, and the failure of cooling systems at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011, a nuclear emergency was declared. This was the first time a nuclear emergency had been declared in Japan, and 140,000 residents within 20 km of the plant were evacuated. The total amount of radioactive material released is unclear, as the crisis is ongoing.[36]

On 6 May 2011, Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant be shut down as an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or higher is likely to hit the area within the next 30 years.[37][38][39] Kan wanted to avoid a possible repeat of the Fukushima disaster.[40] On 9 May 2011, Chubu Electric decided to comply with the government request. Kan later called for a new energy policy with less reliance on nuclear power.[41]

Problems in stabilizing the Fukushima I nuclear plant have hardened attitudes to nuclear power. As of June 2011, "more than 80 percent of Japanese now say they are anti-nuclear and distrust government information on radiation".[42] Post-Fukushima polls suggest that somewhere "between 41 and 54 percent of Japanese support scrapping, or reducing the numbers of, nuclear power plants".[43] Tens of thousands of people marched in central Tokyo in September 2011, chanting "Sayonara nuclear power" and waving banners, to call on Japan's government to abandon atomic energy.[44] As of October 2011, only 11 nuclear power plants are operating. There have been electricity shortages, but Japan survived the summer without the extensive blackouts that had been predicted.[45][46][47] An energy white paper, approved by the Japanese Cabinet in October 2011, says "public confidence in safety of nuclear power was greatly damaged" by the Fukushima disaster, and calls for a reduction in the nation’s reliance on nuclear power.[48]


Jordan has signed memorandums of understanding with the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan, China, and South Korea.[49][50] In December 2009, Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) in cooperation with a consortium headed by the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute signed an agreement with Daewoo Heavy Industries to build a its first 5 MW research reactor by 2014 at the Jordan University of Science and Technology.[51] The research reactor will become a focal point for a Nuclear Technology Centre, which will train upcoming generations of nuclear engineers and scientists in the Kingdom in addition to provide irradiation services for the industrial, agricultural and medical sectors.[52]

Jordan plans to start building its first nuclear power plant by 2013 at the site about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Aqaba.[51] It will be used for electricity generation and desalination.[53] The studies are carried out by Tractebel Engineering.[51]

Jordan has also granted Areva exclusive mining rights for uranium in central Jordan.[51]


Kazakhstan shut down its only NPP in 1999. In 2003, the Minister of Energy and Mines announced plans for the construction of a new NPP within the next 15 years. The two–three unit NPP is to be established on the shores of Lake Balkhash in the Karaganda region of central Kazakhstan.[54]

North Korea

North Korea has no nuclear power program currently. Earlier the building of nuclear plant near Sinpo was started by USSR but construction was cancelled due to luck of funding. Under the Agreed Framework, North Korea agreed to end its graphite-moderated nuclear reactor program in exchange for construction of two PWRs at Kumho, but construction was suspended in November 2003. Under the Six-Party Talks, 19 September 2005 North Korea pledged to end all its nuclear programs and return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in exchange for international inspections in return for benefits including energy aid and normalization of relations with Japan and the United States.

South Korea

South Korea has 18 operational nuclear power reactors, with two more under construction and scheduled to go online by 2004.[citation needed]


Although Malaysia has established Nuclear Agency and been actively involved in the periodic review of the nuclear option, currently there is no nuclear power generation plant neither is there a plan to embark on a nuclear power program in the foreseeable future.[55][dead link]


On 15 May 2007, Myanmar and Russia signed an agreement to construct a nuclear research center in Myanmar. The center will comprise a 10 MWt light water reactor working on 20%-enriched U-235, an activation analysis laboratory, a medical isotope production laboratory, silicon doping system, nuclear waste treatment and burial facilities.[56] Groups such as Greenpeace are concerned that such technology may pose possible security threats.[57]


Pakistan operates two reactors, is building a third, and is considering two more. The current total nuclear generating capacity is 425 MWe.[58]


Syria abandoned its plans to build a VVER-440 reactor after the Chernobyl accident.[8] The plans of nuclear program were revived at the beginning of 2000s when Syria negotiated with Russia to build a nuclear facility that would include a nuclear power plant and a seawater atomic desalination plant.[59]


In Taiwan nuclear energy policy is a contentious issue. On World Environment Day in June 2011, environmental groups protested against the nation’s three operating nuclear power plants and the construction of a fourth plant.[60]


According to the energy minister of Thailand, the state owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand will build its first two nuclear power plants by 2021. This decision was criticized by Greenpeace, which suggested to focus on alternative power supplies from hydropower and smaller biofuel plants before risking nuclear.[61][62]


In the 1980s Vietnam undertook two preliminary nuclear power studies, which concluded that there was a need to introduce nuclear energy in order to meet the expected growth in electricity demand. A national energy plan stated that the nuclear power program was to be commenced by 2010. In February 2006, the government announced the first nuclear power plant would be commissioned by 2017.[8] In June 2010, Vietnam announced that it plans to build fourteen reactors at eight locations by 2030, providing 10% of the nation's electricity.[63] In October 2010, it signed an agreement with Russia for the construction of the country's first nuclear power plant, Ninh Thuan 1, due to begin in 2014.[64]


Yemen has called for establishing The Arab Atomic Energy Agency for nuclear researches and using them for peaceful means, especially generating electricity.[65]



Albania presently has no nuclear power plants, but in 2007 the government discussed constructing a nuclear power plant at Durrës. In addition to meeting the domestic energy demands, the plan foresaw electricity export to neighboring Balkan countries and Italy via an underwater cable, which would link the Italian and Albanian electricity networks.[8][66] In April 2009, Albania and Croatia announced a plan to jointly construct a 1,500 MWe nuclear power plant on the shores of Lake Scutari (Lake Shkodër), near Albania's border with Montenegro.[67]


The Bulgarian government has favored nuclear energy to generate electricity since 1956 and its first commercial nuclear reactor began to operate in 1974. Currently, two reactors are operational providing approximately 35% of the country's electricity.[68] The government plans to build two new units at the Belene Nuclear Power Plant. A contract with Russian Atomstroyexport has been signed for two AES-92 VVER-1000 reactors.[69]

Czech Republic

The Czechoslovak government completed its first nuclear power plant – a gas-cooled heavy water reactor – in 1972 in Bohunice. The country's first commercial nuclear power plant began operating in 1985, and the government is still committed to nuclear energy today. The Czech Republic currently has six nuclear reactors with a net MWe of 3,472 and plans to build two more 1,500 MWe reactors by 2020.[70] According to data from 1990 to 2005, the Czech Republic posted the largest increase in nuclear energy capacity (114%) and energy production (96%) of any EU country. Furthermore, the Czech Republic exported 24,985 GWh in 2005.[71]


Finland has four commercial reactors, which provide 27% of the country's electricity. Two VVER-440 pressurized water reactors built by Atomenergoeksport and commissioned in 1977 and 1980, are located in Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant. They are operated by Fortum. Two boiling water reactors built by Asea-Atom (nowadays Westinghouse Electric Company) and commissioned in 1978 and 1980, are located at the Olkiluoto plant in Eurajoki, near Rauma. They are owned and operated by Teollisuuden Voima, a subsidiary of Pohjolan Voima. In 2002, the cabinet's decision to allow the construction of fifth reactor (the third at Olkiluoto) was accepted in the parliament. The reactor under construction is the European Pressurized Reactor, built by French company Areva. It is scheduled to go on line in 2013.[72] On 21 April 2010, cabinet decided to grant permits for construction of the sixth and seventh commercial reactors to Teollisuuden Voima and Fennovoima, a subsidiary of E.ON. Reactors would be built accordingly at Olkiluoto and Pyhäjoki or Simo. The application by Fortum to build a new reactor at Loviisa was declined. The decision needs an approval by the parliament.[73][74] According to a TNS Gallup survey conducted in January 2010, 48% of Finns had a positive view of nuclear power, and 17% were negative.[75]

Responsibility for storage and disposal of nuclear waste remains with the power companies. Prior to 1996, Finnish companies would export nuclear waste to the Soviet Union. However, a Finnish law passed in 1996 prohibited the transport of nuclear waste abroad. With this law, Finland became the first country that decided to encapsulate spent nuclear fuel into deep repositories. Repository construction is to begin in 2012 with completion by 2020. Once in operation, the process will involve putting twelve fuel assemblies into a boron steel canister and enclosing it into a copper capsule. Each capsule will then be placed in its own hole in the repository and packed with bentonite clay. The estimated cost of this project is about EUR 818 million, which includes the cost of construction, encapsulation, and operating costs. The State Nuclear Waste Management Fund has saved approximately EUR 1.4 billion from charges for generated electricity.[76]


Graph shows the increase in electricity production from nuclear power in France

After the oil crisis of the early 1970s, the French government decided in 1974 to move towards self-sufficiency in electricity production, primarily through the construction of nuclear power stations. France today produces around 78.1% of its electricity through nuclear power.[77] Because France produces an overall electricity surplus, it exports nuclear-produced energy. The Board of Electricité de France (EDF) has approved construction of a 1630 MWe European Pressurized Reactor at Flamanville, Normandy. Construction is expected to begin in late 2007, with completion in 2012.[77]

France established a law in 2005 requiring that nuclear power be central to energy policy and security. Under this law, France would build a third-generation nuclear reactors, by 2015, of which it may decide to build forty more.[78] Each EPR reactor would produce 1,600 MW of electricity versus the 900 MW that current reactors produce. The EPR reactor was also recognized as safer and more efficient.[79] In August 2005, EDF announced that it wanted to replace all of its reactors with EPR reactors.[78]

EDF reprocesses approximately 850 of the 1,200 tons of used fuel each year. The reprocessed spent fuel is made into plutonium.[78] The plutonium is then converted into fresh mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which is used in over 35 reactors across Europe. These reactors can load approximately 20-50% of their cores with the MOX fuel.[80]

Public opinion concerning nuclear energy has remained positive in France. In Civaux, France, where a planned nuclear power plant was to be built, the people embraced the fact that their city was chosen as the site. Claude Mandil, the General Director for Energy and Raw Materials at the Minister of Industry , noted three primary reasons why the French people like nuclear power. First, the people of France enjoyed the independence from foreign energy. Second, they like large technological developments to occur in their country. Finally, the government instilled the benefits of nuclear energy into the people.[81]


Nuclear power in Germany accounted for 23% of national electricity consumption,[82] before the permanent shutdown of 8 plants in March 2011. German nuclear power began with research reactors in the 1950s and 1960s with the first commercial plant coming online in 1969. It has been high on the political agenda in recent decades, with continuing debates about when the technology should be phased out. The topic received renewed attention at the start of 2007 due to the political impact of the Russia-Belarus energy dispute and in 2011 after the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.[83]

On 30 May 2011, Germany formally announced plans to abandon nuclear energy completely within 11 years. The plan includes the immediate permanent closure of six nuclear power plants that had been temporarily shut down for testing in March 2011, and two more that have been offline a few years with technical problems. The remaining nine plants will be shut down between now and 2022. The announcement was first made by Norbert Röttgen, head of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, after late-night talks.[83][84]

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the phase-out of plants, previously scheduled to go offline as late as 2036, would give Germany a competitive advantage in the renewable energy era, stating, "As the first big industrialized nation, we can achieve such a transformation toward efficient and renewable energies, with all the opportunities that brings for exports, developing new technologies and jobs". Merkel also pointed to Japan's "helplessness" – despite being an industrialized, technologically advanced nation – in the face of its nuclear disaster.[85] Some German manufacturers and energy companies have criticized the plans, warning that Germany could face blackouts.[86]


After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster Italy held a referendum, which supported shutting down Italy's four nuclear power plants. The construction of new reactors was halted and the last operating reactor was closed in 1990.[87] In 1987, a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear plants was passed. Originally in effect until 1993, it had been extended until 2009.[88] In 2004, a new energy law allowed joint ventures with foreign companies in relation to nuclear power plants and importing electricity from them.[89] Following Silvio Berlusconi's victory in the 2008 election, Italy's industry minister announced that the government scheduled the construction to start the first new Italian nuclear-powered plant by 2013.[90] On 24 February 2009, an agreement between France and Italy was signed according to which a study about the feasibility of building 4 new nuclear power plants in Italy to be conducted.[91] On 9 July 2009 the Italian parliament passed a law on the establishment of a nuclear safety agency to be established by July 2010, and giving the government a task to select sites for new nuclear power plants.[89][92] According to the 2010 Eurobarometer report only 20% of Italians support increase of the nuclear energy in the country's energy mix while 62% think that the share should be either maintained or reduced.[89]

There was a uranium enrichment facility in Bosco Marengo but which is being decommissioned by Sogin, a spinoff of ENEL.


Romania's 1,400 MW Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant produces around 18 % of the nation's electrical power. It is based on Canadian technology and uses heavy water produced at Drobeta-Turnu Severin as its neutron moderator and water from the Danube for cooling. Two reactors are fully operational and another three are partially finished. When fully functional the plant will produce around 40 % of Romania's total electricity needs.

Currently, nuclear waste is stored at the reactors for up to ten years. Then the waste is transported to dry storage. The government has conducted studies into a permanent geological repository.[93]

There are plans to construct a second nuclear power plant in Transylvania after 2020.[94]


Russia operates 31 reactors, is building 3, and has plans for another 27.[95] Russia has also begun building floating nuclear power plants. The £100 million ($204.9 million, 2 billion Rubles) vessel, the Lomonosov, to be completed in 2010, is the first of seven plants that Moscow says will bring vital energy resources to remote Russian regions. While producing only a small fraction of the power of a standard Russian land-based plant, it can supply power to a city of 200,000, or function as a desalination plant. The Rosatom, the state-owned nuclear energy company said that at least 12 countries were also interested in buying floating nuclear plants.[96]


In 1964, Spain began construction on its first of three nuclear reactors and completed construction in 1968. Currently, Spain has eight nuclear reactors producing 20% of the country’s electricity or 7,442 net MWe.


Sweden began research into nuclear energy in 1947 with the establishment of the atomic energy research organization. In 1964, the country built its first small heavy water reactor. The country decided to use hydropower and supplement it with nuclear energy to avoid the volatility in oil prices. Six reactors began commercial service in both the 1970s and 1980s, with one unit closed in 1999 and another in 2005. Currently, Sweden has 10 nuclear power reactors which provide over 40% of its electricity.[97] On 17 June 2010, the Swedish Parliament adopted a decision allowing starting from 1 January 2011 a replacement of the existing reactors with new nuclear reactors.[98]


Switzerland has five nuclear reactors, and around 40% of its electricity is generated by nuclear power. The country has had several referenda on the nuclear energy, beginning in 1979 with a citizens' initiative for nuclear safety, which was rejected. In 1984, there was a vote on an initiative "for a future without further nuclear power stations" with the result being a 55% to 45% vote against. On 23 September 1990, the people passed a motion to halt the construction of nuclear power plants (for a moratorium period of ten years) but rejected a motion to initiate a phase-out.[99] On 18 May 2003 a motion calling for an extension to this moratorium (for another ten years) and another asking again on the question of a phase-out, were both rejected.[100] In May 2011 the government decided it will phase out all nuclear power plants in the next twenty years[101]


Ukraine operates 15 reactors, which supply 47.5% of Ukraine's electricity production of 195 billion kWh (2007). Ukraine's power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of installed capacity, with 54 gigawatts (GW).[102] In 2006, the government planned to build 11 new reactors by the year 2030, in effect, almost doubling the current amount of nuclear power capacity.[103]

United Kingdom

The first full-scale nuclear reactor in Europe opened in Calder Hall, located in Cumberland, United Kingdom on October 17, 1956. Calder Hall was the world’s first nuclear power reactor producing power for a national grid, though its primary purpose was military plutonium production. At its peak, Calder Hall produced 240 MWe of electricity. Over the next ten years, nine more nuclear reactors were built across the United Kingdom.[104] The UK has decommissioned nearly all of its first generation Magnox reactors. Recently, the UK privatized its nuclear energy industry but government oversight remains. As of 2010, the United Kingdom has 19 reactors generating 18% of the country’s electricity. By current accounting lifetimes all but one of them will be decommissioned by 2023, though many are likely to be life-extended. The government is encouraging the building of new generation plants as replacements. Currently, the reactors have a net capacity of 10,962 MWe.[105]

North America


Canada operates 18 reactors accounting for about 15% of electrical generation, mostly in the province of Ontario. Increasing demands for electricity and Kyoto Agreement obligations have led Ontario to announce that it will maintain existing nuclear capacity by replacing older reactors with new ones.[106]


Mexico has one nuclear power plant, which consists of two boiling water reactors.[107] In February 2007, contracts with Iberdrola and Alstom were signed to update the reactors by 2010. A committee has been established to recommend on new nuclear plants and the most recent proposal is for one unit to come on line by 2015 with seven more to follow it by 2025.[108]

After a time was thought to stop the use of nuclear energy then Mexico finally decided in 2007 by repowering the Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Station, which has two reactors of 683MW each, after the upgrading, reactors are increase their production to 817MW each[109], accounting 4.8% of the electricity production. On May 14, 2010 Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel announced that Mexico provides full development of nuclear energy in its energy mix as an alternative to discourage the use of fossil fuels and increase the generation of clean electricity.[110]

In November 2011, Mexico abandoned plans to build as many as 10 new nuclear reactors and will focus instead on natural gas-fired electricity plants after boosting discoveries of the fuel.[111]

United States

In 2007, there were 104 (69 pressurized water reactors, 35 boiling water reactors) commercial nuclear generating units licensed to operate in the United States, producing approximately 20% of the country's electrical energy needs. In absolute terms, the United States is the world's largest supplier of commercial nuclear power. However, the development of nuclear power in the United States has been stymied ever since the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979. Future development of nuclear power in the U.S. was to be enabled by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and co-ordinated by the Nuclear Power 2010 Program, [112] but many license applications filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for proposed new reactors have been suspended or cancelled.[113][114]

As of October 2011, plans for about 30 new reactors in the United States have been "whittled down to just four, despite the promise of large subsidies and President Barack Obama’s support of nuclear power, which he reaffirmed after Fukushima".[115] The only reactor currently under construction in America, at Watts Bar, Tennessee, was begun in 1973 and may be completed in 2012.[116][117] Matthew Wald from the New York Times has reported that "the nuclear renaissance is looking small and slow".[118]

In 2008, the Energy Information Administration projected almost 17 gigawatts of new nuclear power reactors by 2030, but in its 2011 projections, it "scaled back the 2030 projection to just five".[119] A survey conducted in April 2011 found that 64 percent of Americans opposed the construction of new nuclear reactors.[120] A survey sponsored by the Nuclear Energy Institute, conducted in September 2011, found that "62 percent of respondents said they favor the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the United States, with 35 percent opposed".[121]



Australia has no nuclear power plants. However, Australia has up to 40% of the world's uranium deposits and is the world's second largest producer of uranium after Canada.[54] At the same time Australia's extensive, low-cost coal and natural gas reserves have historically been used as strong arguments for avoiding nuclear power.

In 2005, the Australian government threatened to use its constitutional powers to take control of the approval process for new mines from the anti-nuclear Northern Territory government. They are also negotiating with China to weaken safeguard terms so as to allow uranium exports there.[citation needed] States controlled by the Australian Labor Party are blocking the development of new mines in their jurisdictions under the ALP's "No New Mines policy."

John Howard went to the November 2007 federal election with a pro-nuclear power platform but his government was defeated by Labor, which opposes nuclear power for Australia.[122][123]

New Zealand

New Zealand has no nuclear power plants. It enacted the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 which prohibits the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of New Zealand and the entry into New Zealand waters of nuclear armed or propelled ships. This Act of Parliament, however, does not prevent the construction of nuclear power plants. A 2008 survey shows that relatively few New Zealanders favour nuclear power as the best energy source.[124]

See also


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