Plans For New Reactors Worldwide

(Updated July 2019)

  • Nuclear power capacity worldwide is increasing steadily, with about 50 reactors under construction.
  • Most reactors on order or planned are in the Asian region, though there are major plans for new units in Russia.
  • Significant further capacity is being created by plant upgrading.
  • Plant lifetime extension programmes are maintaining capacity, particularly in the USA.

Today there are about 450 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries plus Taiwan, with a combined capacity of about 400 GWe. In 2017 these provided 2506 billion kWh, over 10% of the world's electricity.

About 50 power reactors are currently being constructed in 15 countries (see Table below), notably China, India, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Each year, the OECD's International Energy Agency (IEA) sets out the present situation as well as reference and other – particularly carbon reduction – scenarios. In the 2018 edition of its World Energy Outlook report, the IEA's 'New Policies Scenario' sees installed nuclear capacity growth of 25% from 2016 (about 414 GWe) to 2040 (about 518 GWe). The scenario envisages a total generating capacity of 12,466 GWe by 2040, with the increase concentrated heavily in Asia, and in particular China (34% of the total). In this scenario, nuclear's contribution to global power generation is about 10% in 2040.

The IEA's New Policies Scenario is based on a review of policy announcements and plans, reflecting the way governments see their energy sectors evolving over the coming decades. The IEA estimates that the cumulative impact of the new policies would result in steady growth in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector through to 2040. The IEA has produced a low-carbon ‘Sustainable Development Scenario’ that is consistent with limiting the average global temperature increase in 2100 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In the Sustainable Development Scenario, nuclear capacity increases to 678 GWe by 2040, providing about 13.5% of electricity generation.

It is noteworthy that in the 1980s, 218 power reactors started up, an average of one every 17 days. These included 47 in the USA, 42 in France and 18 in Japan. These were fairly large – the average rated power was 923.5 MWe. With China and India's nuclear sectors growing, it is not hard to imagine a similar rate of reactor construction in the years ahead. 

Nuclear plant construction

Over 100 power reactors with a total gross capacity of about 120,000 MWe are on order or planned, and over 300 more are proposed. Most reactors currently planned are in the Asian region, with fast-growing economies and rapidly-rising electricity demand.

Many countries with existing nuclear power programmes either have plans to, or are building, new power reactors. Every country worldwide that has operating nuclear power plants, or plants under construction, has a dedicated country profile in the Information Library. 

About 30 countries are considering, planning or starting nuclear power programmes (see information paper on Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries).

Power reactors under construction

Start †   Reactor Model Gross MWe
2019 Belarus, BNPP Ostrovets 1 VVER-1200 1194
2019 China, CGN Fangchenggang 3 Hualong One 1180
2019 China, CGN Hongyanhe 5 ACPR-1000 1119
2019 China, CGN Yangjiang 6 ACPR-1000 1086
2019 China, CNNC Fuqing 5 Hualong One 1150
2019 China, China Huaneng Shidaowan HTR-PM 210
2019 Finland, TVO Olkiluoto 3 EPR 1720
2019 Korea, KHNP Shin Hanul 1 APR1400 1400
2019 Russia, Rosenergoatom Pevek FNPP KLT40S x 2 70
2020 Belarus, BNPP Ostrovets 2 VVER-1200 1194
2020 China, CGN Hongyanhe 6 ACPR-1000 1119
2020 China, CGN Fangchenggang 4 Hualong One 1180
2020 China, CNNC Tianwan 5 ACPR-1000 1118
2020 China, CNNC Fuqing 6 Hualong One 1150
2020 China, CGN Bohai shipyard ACPR50S 60
2020 India, Bhavini Kalpakkam PFBR FBR 500
2020 Japan, Chugoku Shimane 3 ABWR 1373
2020 Korea, KHNP Shin Hanul 2 APR1400 1400
2020 Russia, Rosenergoatom Leningrad II-2 VVER-1200 1170
2020 Slovakia, SE Mochovce 3 VVER-440 471
2020 UAE, ENEC Barakah 1 APR1400 1400
2021 Argentina, CNEA Carem25 Carem 29
2021 China, CNNC Tianwan 6 ACPR-1000 1118
2021 Pakistan Karachi/KANUPP 2 ACP1000 1100
2021 Slovakia, SE Mochovce 4 VVER-440 471
2021 UAE, ENEC Barakah 2 APR1400 1400
2021 USA, Southern Vogtle 3 AP1000 1250
2022 France, EDF Flamanville 3 EPR 1650
2022 India, NPCIL Kakrapar 3 PHWR-700 700
2022 India, NPCIL Kakrapar 4 PHWR-700 700
2022 India, NPCIL Rajasthan 7 PHWR-700 700
2022 India, NPCIL Rajasthan 8 PHWR-700 700
2022 Pakistan Karachi/KANUPP 3 ACP1000 1100
2022 Russia, Rosenergoatom Kursk II-1 VVER-TOI 1255
2022 UAE, ENEC Barakah 3 APR1400 1400
2022 USA, Southern Vogtle 4 AP1000 1250
2023 Bangladesh Rooppur 1 VVER-1200 1200
2023 China, CNNC Xiapu 1 CFR600 600
2023 Korea, KHNP Shin Kori 5 APR1400 1400
2023 Russia, Rosenergoatom Kursk II-2 VVER-TOI 1255
2023 Turkey Akkuyu 1 VVER-1200 1200
2023 UAE, ENEC Barakah 4 APR1400 1400
2024 Bangladesh Rooppur 2 VVER-1200 1200
2024 Korea, KHNP Shin Kori 6 APR1400 1400
2025 India, NPCIL Kudankulam 3 VVER-1000 1050
2025 UK, EDF Hinkley Point C1 EPR 1720
2026 India, NPCIL Kudankulam 4 VVER-1000 1050
2026 Japan, EPDC Ohma 1 ABWR 1383

Latest announced/estimated year of commercial operation
Note: units where construction is currently suspended are omitted from the above Table.

Increased capacity

Increased nuclear capacity in some countries is resulting from the uprating of existing plants. This is a highly cost-effective way of bringing on new capacity. Numerous power reactors in the USA, Switzerland, Spain, Finland, and Sweden, for example, have had their generating capacity increased.

In the USA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved more than 140 uprates totalling over 6500 MWe since 1977, a few of them 'extended uprates' of up to 20%.

In Switzerland, all operating reactors have had uprates, increasing capacity by 13.4%.

Spain has had a programme to add 810 MWe (11%) to its nuclear capacity through upgrading its nine reactors by up to 13%. Most of the increase is already in place. For instance, the Almarez nuclear plant was boosted by 7.4% at a cost of $50 million.

Finland boosted the capacity of the original Olkiluoto plant by 29% to 1700 MWe. This plant started with two 660 MWe Swedish BWRs commissioned in 1978 and 1980. The Loviisa plant, with two VVER-440 reactors, has been uprated by 90 MWe (18%).

Sweden's utilities have uprated three plants. The Ringhals plant was uprated by about 305 MWe over 2006-14. Oskarshamn 3 was uprated by 21% to 1450 MWe at a cost of €313 million. Forsmark 2 had a 120 MWe uprate (12%) to 2013.

Plant lifetime extensions and retirements

Most nuclear power plants originally had a nominal design lifetime of 25 to 40 years, but engineering assessments have established that many can operate longer. By the end of 2016, the NRC had granted licence renewals to over 85 reactors, extending their operating lifetimes from 40 to 60 years. Such licence extensions at about the 30-year mark justify significant capital expenditure needed for the replacement of worn equipment and outdated control systems.

In France, there are rolling ten-year reviews of reactors. In 2009 the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) approved EDF's safety case for 40-year operation of its 900 MWe units, based on generic assessment of the 34 reactors. There are plans to take reactor lifetimes out to 60 years, involving substantial expenditure.

The Russian government is extending the operating lifetimes of most of the country's reactors from their original 30 years, for 15 years, or for 30 years in the case of the newer VVER-1000 units, with significant upgrades.

The technical and economic feasibility of replacing major reactor components, such as steam generators in PWRs, and pressure tubes in CANDU heavy water reactors, has been demonstrated. The possibility of component replacement and licence renewals extending the lifetimes of existing plants is very attractive to utilities, especially in view of the public acceptance difficulties involved in constructing replacement nuclear capacity.

On the other hand, economic, regulatory and political considerations have led to the premature closure of some power reactors, particularly in the USA, where reactor numbers have fallen from a high of 110 to 99, as well as in parts of Europe and likely in Japan.

It should not be assumed that a reactor will close when its existing licence is due to expire, since licence renewal is now common. However, new units coming online have more or less been balanced by the retirement of old units in recent years. Over 1996-2015, 75 reactors were retired as 80 started operation. There are no firm projections for retirements over the next two decades, but the World Nuclear Association estimates that at least 80 of those now operating will close by 2035. The 2017 edition of the Association's Nuclear Fuel Report has 140 reactors closing by 2035 in its reference scenario, using very conservative assumptions about licence renewal, and 224 coming online, including many in China.

Notes & references

General sources

International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2018
World Nuclear Association, World Nuclear Performance Report 2018

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