The Past and the Future of Nuclear Powers

Nuclear energy is one of popular energy sources, providing 11% of total electricity in the world. However most reactors are old and have reached or surpassed their initial 30~40 year lifespans. Although some analysts and authors of a recent report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  claim that nuclear is the key energy source to keep global carbon emission in check, early nuclear pioneers such as France and Germany are reducing their program because of its side effects and potential hazard. However emerging economies such as China and Russia are planning to build more reactors, which could make up insufficient amount, keeping the world’s inventory stable.

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency; data current as of December 2013.
Data Visualization by Giorgia Lupi, Simone Quadri, Gabriele Rossi, Davide Ciuffi, and Tommaso Renzini, Accurat

1. The US government announced that they will shut down 5 reactors in 2012 and some planned units are in hold.

2. One of a few countries actively investing in nuclear power is China. 28 of its 49 reactors are being built and there are 35 more planned. However it seems they still can’t provide enough energy. Only 2% of total electricity in China was covered by Nuclear power in 2012.

3. Japan was one of the countries heavily depending on Nuclear energy(29% of total electricity) before the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Since then they shut off all units and have imported natural gas and oil to make up the insufficient electricity.

4. In June, a bill regarding limiting energy from nuclear power source at it’s current was announced by the French prime minister.

5. Despite the aftermath of Chernobyl disaster lasting decades, Russia still heavily depends on nuclear power for electricity.


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