Nuclear energy is a low carbon and non-renewable source of energy that contributes to approximately 10% of global electricity generated, through 437 reactors around the world. It is the energy released from the core of atoms which could be produced in two ways; fission and fusion. The US leads the world with 772 TWh of electricity produced through 94.7GWe of nuclear capacity available through 92 reactors in operation. France leads the world in terms of share of electricity generated by nuclear power with 69% of national requirement produced by 56 reactors with a combined capacity of 61.3GWe. Nuclear as a source of energy, provides predictable and stable energy generation, low / competitive cost of electricity production and long operable life per plant.
The nuclear output based perspective above looks at the how much electricity is produced from nuclear energy in terawatt-hours. An alternative perspective is to look at how significant nuclear energy plays in each countries total energy consumption. The chart below shows the share of primary energy that comes from nuclear sources for countries with major dependancies on nuclear in their own energy mix.
The nuclear incidents of Chernobyl, Ukraine, Three Mile Island, USA and Fukushima, Japan more recently have made the construction of new nuclear power plants socially less desirable due to the likelihood of catastrophic accidents. The lack of permanent disposal methods of nuclear waste is another concern with approximately 280,000 tons of nuclear waste piled up globally awaiting disposal. Nuclear waste pile up is also considered a security concern. Further nuclear power plants incur high initial costs which are not affordable to all countries and in geographies with low cost access to fossil fuels, coal / thermal power plants are cheaper to build and run. As such, global operable reactor count grew by 30 between 1987 and 2021.