Plans For New Reactors Worldwide

(Updated January 2018)

  • 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 programs are maintaining capacity, particularly in the USA.

Today there are some 440 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries plus Taiwan, with a combined capacity of over 390 GWe. In 2015 these provided 2571 billion kWh, about 11% of the world's electricity.

About 50 power reactors are currently being constructed in 13 countries (see Table below), notably China, India, UAE and Russia.

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 2017 edition of its World Energy Outlook report, the IEA's 'New Policies Scenario' sees installed nuclear capacity growth of over 25% from 2015 (about 404 GWe) to 2040 (about 516 GWe). The scenario envisages a total generating capacity of 11,960 GWe by 2040, with the increase concentrated heavily in Asia, and in particular China (33% of the total). In this scenario nuclear's contribution to global power generation increases to about 14% of the total.

The 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 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 720 GWe by 2040, providing about 15% of electricity generation.

The report states: "In the Sustainable Development Scenario, low-carbon sources double their share in the energy mix to 40% in 2040, all avenues to improve efficiency are pursued, coal demand goes into an immediate decline and oil consumption peaks soon thereafter. Power generation is all but decarbonised, relying by 2040 on generation from renewables (over 60%), nuclear power (15%) as well as a contribution from carbon capture and storage (6%) – a technology that plays an equally significant role in cutting emissions from the industry sector."

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

Most reactors currently planned are in the Asian region, with fast-growing economies and rapidly-rising electricity demand.

In all, about 160 power reactors with a total gross capacity of some 160,000 MWe are on order or planned, and over 300 more are proposed.

Energy security concerns and greenhouse constraints on fossil fuel burning have combined with basic economics to put nuclear power back on the agenda for projected new capacity in many countries. At the end of 2017, 57 power reactors were under construction around the world.

Many countries with existing nuclear power programs either have plans to, or are building, new power reactors.

Countries with existing nuclear power programs

Argentina has three operating reactors and nascent plans for two units to be constructed by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

In Armenia construction is planned to start on a new reactor in 2018 following government approval in May 2014.

Bulgaria is planning to build a large new reactor at Kozloduy.

In Brazil construction of the country's third unit is ongoing following the signing of an agreement with CNNC in September 2017.

In China, now with 38 operating reactors on the mainland, the country is well into the growth phase of its nuclear power program. There were eight new grid connections in 2015, and five in 2016. 20 more reactors are under construction, including the world's first Westinghouse AP1000 units, and a demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor plant. Many more units are planned, including two largely indigenous designs – the Hualong One and CAP1400. China aims to have more nuclear capacity than any country except the USA and France by 2020.

In the Czech Republic the government remains strongly committed to new nuclear capacity. Talks were held in early 2017 with parties interested in constructing new units in the country.

In Finland, construction is under way on a fifth, very large reactor which is expected to come online in 2019, and plans are progressing for another large one to follow it.

France is building a similar 1600 MWe unit at Flamanville, for operation from 2019.

India has 22 reactors in operation, and six under construction. This includes two large Russian reactors and a large prototype fast breeder reactor as part of its strategy to develop a fuel cycle which can utilise thorium. Nineteen further units are planned, and proposals for more – including western and Russian designs – are taking shape following the lifting of nuclear trade restrictions.

In Iran a 1000 MWe PWR at Bushehr began commercial operation in September 2013, and further units are planned.

Japan has two reactors under construction.

Pakistan has two Chinese ACP1000 reactors under construction.

Romania's second power reactor started up in 2007, and plans are being implemented for two further units to be built there.

In Russia, several reactors and two small ones are under construction, and one recently put into operation is a large fast neutron reactor. About 25 further reactors are then planned, some to replace existing plants. This will increase the country's present nuclear power capacity significantly by 2030. In addition about 5 GW of nuclear thermal capacity is planned. A small floating power plant is expected to be commissioned by 2019 and others are expected to follow.

Slovakia is completing two 440 MWe units at Mochovce, to operate from 2018.

South Korea plans to bring a further three reactors into operation by 2019. All of these are advanced PWRs of 1400 MWe. These APR1400 designs have evolved from a US design which has US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) design certification, and four have been sold to the UAE (see below).

In the UK, 11 units are planned, including four 1670 MWe EPR units, four 1380 MWe ABWR units and three 1135 MWe AP1000 units.

In the USA, there are plans for two new reactors, beyond the two under construction now.

Emerging nuclear energy programs

Nuclear power is planned in over 20 countries which do not currently have it, and is under some level of consideration in over 20 more.

Belarus is building two large new Russian reactors at Ostrovets.

The United Arab Emirates awarded a $20.4 billion contract to a South Korean consortium to build four 1400 MWe reactors by 2020. They are under construction and on schedule with the first two units due to begin operation in 2018.

Other emerging countries with committed plans for nuclear include: Lithuania, Turkey, Bangladesh, Jordan, Poland and Egypt.

For more information see linked country papers and paper on Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries.

The World Nuclear Power Reactors and Uranium Requirements table gives a more comprehensive and (for the current year) possibly more up-to-date overview of world reactor status.

Power reactors under construction

Start †   Reactor Model Gross MWe
2018 China, CGN Taishan 1 EPR 1750
2018 Russia, Rosenergoatom Leningrad II-1 VVER-1200 1170
2018 Russia, Rosenergoatom Rostov 4 VVER-1000 1100
2018 Slovakia, SE Mochovce 3 VVER-440 471
2018 Korea, KHNP Shin-Hanul 1 APR1400 1400
2018 Korea, KHNP Shin-Kori 4 APR1400 1400
2018 UAE, ENEC Barakah 1 APR1400 1400
2018 UAE, ENEC Barakah 2 APR1400 1400
2018 China, CNNC Sanmen 1 AP1000 1250
2018 China, CNNC Sanmen 2 AP1000 1250
2018 China, SPI Haiyang 1 AP1000 1250
2018 China, CGN Yangjiang 5 ACPR-1000 1087
2018 China, China Huaneng Shidaowan HTR-PM 210
2018 India, Bhavini Kalpakkam PFBR FBR 500
2019 Argentina, CNEA Carem25 Carem 27
2019 Finland, TVO Olkilouto 3 EPR 1720
2019 Russia, Rosenergoatom Pevek FNPP KLT40S x 2 70
2019 Russia, Rosenergoatom Novovoronezh II-2 VVER-1200 1200
2019 UAE, ENEC Barakah 3 APR1400 1400
2019 China, CGN Fangchenggang 3 Hualong One 1150
2019 China, CGN Hongyanhe 5 ACPR-1000 1080
2019 China, CGN Yangjiang 6 ACPR-1000 1087
2019 China, CNNC Fuqing 5 Hualong One 1161
2019 China, CNNC Tianwan 4 VVER-1000 1060
2019 China, SPI Haiyang 2 AP1000 1250
2019 China, CGN Taishan 2 EPR 1750
2019 France, EDF Flamanville 3 EPR 1750
2019 Korea, KHNP Shin-Hanul 2 APR1400 1400
2019 Slovakia, SE Mochovce 4 VVER-440 471
2019 Belarus, BNPP Ostrovets 1 VVER-1200 1194
2020 Russia, Rosenergoatom Leningrad II-2 VVER-1200 1170
2020 China, CGN Hongyanhe 6 ACPR-1000 1080
2020 China, CGN Fangchenggang 4 Hualong One 1150
2020 China, CNNC Tianwan 5 ACPR-1000 1080
2020 China, CNNC Fuqing 6 Hualong One 1161
2020 UAE, ENEC Barakah 4 APR1400 1400
2020 Belarus, BNPP Ostrovets 2 VVER-1200 1194
2021 Argentina, NASA Atucha 3 Candu 6 800
2021 China, CNNC Tianwan 6 ACPR-1000 1080
2021 Pakistan Karachi / KANUPP 2 ACP1000 1161
2021 USA, Southern Vogtle 3 AP1000 1250
2021 Korea, KHNP Shin-Kori 5 APR1400 1400
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 1161
2023 Brazil Angra 3 PWR 1405
2023 USA, Southern Vogtle 4 AP1000 1250
2023 Bangladesh Rooppur 1 VVER-1200 1200
2023 China, CNNC Xiapu 1 CFR600 600
2024 Japan Ohma 1 ABWR 1383
2025 India, NPCIL Kudankulam VVER-1000 1050

Latest announced year of proposed 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 program 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.

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