Plans For New Reactors Worldwide

(Updated October 2020)

  • 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 440 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries plus Taiwan, with a combined capacity of about 400 GWe. In 2019 these provided 2657 TWh, 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 its World Energy Outlook (WEO) report. In the 2020 edition (WEO 2020), the IEA's 'Stated Policies Scenario' sees installed nuclear capacity growth of over 15% from 2019 to 2040 (reaching about 480 GWe). The scenario envisages a total generating capacity of 13,418 GWe by 2040, with the increase concentrated heavily in Asia, and in particular India and China. In this scenario, nuclear's contribution to global power generation is about 8.5% in 2040.

The IEA's Stated Policies Scenario (formerly named '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 in WEO 2020 that the cumulative impact of the stated policies would result in growth in global carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector through to 2040.

The IEA has produced energy transition scenarios since 2009, beginning with the '450 Scenario', which was consistent with the narrow aim of keeping CO2 concentrations below 450 ppm (parts per million) – the level associated with a 50% likelihood of keeping the average global temperature rise below 2 °C. In 2017, the IEA introduced the 'Sustainable Development Scenario' (SDS), which "portrays an energy future which emphasises co-benefits of the measures needed to simultaneously deliver energy access, clean air and climate goals." In WEO 2020, the SDS projects nuclear capacity to increase to 599 GWe by 2040.

Nuclear plant construction

Over 100 power reactors with a total gross capacity of about 110,000 MWe are on order or planned, and over 300 more are proposed. Most reactors currently planned are in Asia, 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
2020 Belarus, BNPP Ostrovets 1 VVER-1200 1194
2020 China, China Huaneng Shidaowan HTR-PM 210
2020 China, CNNC Fuqing 5 Hualong One 1150
2020 India, NPCIL Kakrapar 3 PHWR-700 700
2020 Korea, KHNP Shin Hanul 1 APR1400 1400
2020 Slovakia, SE Mochovce 3 VVER-440 471
2021 Argentina, CNEA Carem25 Carem 29
2021 Belarus, BNPP Ostrovets 2 VVER-1200 1194
2021 China, CNNC Fuqing 6 Hualong One 1150
2021 China, CGN Hongyanhe 5 ACPR-1000 1080
2021 China, CNNC Tianwan 6 ACPR-1000 1118
2021 Finland, TVO Olkiluoto 3 EPR 1720
2021 India, Bhavini Kalpakkam PFBR FBR 500
2021 India, NPCIL Kakrapar 4 PHWR-700 700
2021 Korea, KHNP Shin Hanul 2 APR1400 1400
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 China, CGN Fangchenggang 3 Hualong One 1180
2022 China, CGN Fangchenggang 4 Hualong One 1180
2022 China, CGN Hongyanhe 6 ACPR-1000 1080
2022 India, NPCIL Rajasthan 7 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 France, EDF Flamanville 3 EPR 1750
2023 India, NPCIL Kudankulam 3 VVER-1000 1050
2023 India, NPCIL Kudankulam 4 VVER-1000 1050
2023 India, NPCIL Rajasthan 8 PHWR-700 700
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 China, Guodian & CNNC Zhangzhou 1 Hualong One 1150
2024 Iran Bushehr 2 VVER-1000 1057
2024 Korea, KHNP Shin Kori 6 APR1400 1400
2024 Turkey Akkuyu 2 VVER-1200 1200
2025 China, CGN Taipingling 1 Hualong One 1150
2025 China, Guodian & CNNC Zhangzhou 2 Hualong One 1150
2025 UK, EDF Hinkley Point C1 EPR 1720
2026 UK, EDF Hinkley Point C2 EPR 1720

Latest announced/estimated year of grid connection.
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 about 165 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 operating 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 95, 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 operating licence extension is now common. However, new units coming online have more or less been balanced by the retirement of old units in recent years. Over 1999-2019, 99 reactors were retired as 99 started operation. There are no firm projections for retirements over the next two decades, but the World Nuclear Association's 2019 edition of The Nuclear Fuel Report has 154 reactors closing by 2040 in its reference scenario, using conservative assumptions about licence renewal, and 289 coming online.

Notes & references

General sources

International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2020
World Nuclear Association, World Nuclear Performance Report 2020

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