Nuclear power plants, how many are in your backyard?

Following on from the devastating Tsunami, all eyes are now focused on the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the possibility of a nuclear meltdown. In our last post, we looked at earthquakes around the world. This week, we will analyse operational nuclear reactors.

We have analysed data from the World Nuclear Association covering all the reactors around the world. We have used Tableau in our analysis. To get the most of this insight click on the visualisation below to bring the data to life. Click on countries, multiple values and/or basically anything you find interesting and watch how the visualisations update automatically.

There are 439 reactors in the world, with the US, France and Japan with 104, 58, and 55 reactors respectively. Thirty countries are part of this elite club generating a total of 371 MWe. Again the US tops the league with 23% of the world’s total.

The majority of the reactors are over 20 years which is not very reassuring. The worldwide average is 26 years. The Netherlands has the oldest reactors (38 years on average), compared to US (31) and UK (29). China has the lowest average (newest reactors) with an average age of 9.

The most common design is a high proportion of Pressurized water reactors (PWR), 52% of the world’s total, followed by boiling water reactors (BWR) at 20%. The overheating reactors at Fukushima are a BWR ones built mid 70s.

The UK has 19 reactors, 11k MwE and 4.33% of the total world output. The majority of the UK reactors are advanced gas-cooled reactor with the exception of one PWR. I am no nuclear expert but it gives me reassurance that they are different than the ones in Japan. That said, they are only found in the UK so let’s hope that British Engineering is still at its best.

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