Nuclear supplies more than 11% of the world’s electricity. Today, the world produces as much electricity from nuclear energy as it did from all sources combined in 1960.
There are currently more than 430 commercial nuclear reactors operating in 48 countries, with a further 70 under construction.
Take a look at the operable, planned and proposed reactors around the world.
Nuclear energy currently supplies 20% of the UK’s electricity
Nuclear energy has supplied up to a third of the UK’s electricity since 1956. Today 16 reactors on nine sites supply nearly a fifth of the country’s electricity.
Take a look at a breakdown of the UK electricity mix.
UK public opinion
Public support for nuclear energy, alongside other low carbon sources, has been strong for several years. Read the results of a recent NIA/YouGov poll.
Nuclear comes first in the energy sources the public believe is needed to keep the lights on, but industry must not take this support for granted. The case for an expansion of low-carbon nuclear energy remains compelling, public confidence in the safe operation of nuclear plants and the safety standards of the industry, must be maintained.
World class, competitive industry of highly skilled professionals
The civil nuclear industry employs more than 54,000 highly skilled people throughout the UK, with more than 80,000 jobs being directly or indirectly linked with the industry. Companies in the UK nuclear industry have the capability to provide more than 80% of the work involved in new nuclear power station projects in the UK. This represents billions of pounds of investment into the UK economy.
Over the next two decades it is forecast that globally there will be £930 billion investment in building new reactors and £250 billion in decommissioning those coming off line. The nuclear new build programme in the UK alone could generate up to 40,000 jobs in the sector at its peak. The nuclear industrial strategy sets out the basis for a long-term partnership between Government and industry to exploit those opportunities.
The industry has the experience to operate and maintain them throughout their full lifecycle.
There are hundreds of successful businesses in the UK civil nuclear industry. Find local businesses in your area on the NIA Jobs Map.
The world has changed dramatically over the last few years
Security of supply concerns have grown and energy prices across the board have risen sharply, pushed up by global oil and gas prices. Climate change still remains high on the political agenda with a number of targets due to be met over the coming years. In the UK, CO₂ emissions have started to fall but remain high by international standards. Progress on energy efficiency and renewables uptake has been slow and the looming energy gap draws closer with North Sea oil and gas resources running out faster than expected.
A balanced energy mix will help to ensure security of energy supply in the UK
Nuclear energy provides Britain with energy security by reducing the country’s dependence on foreign imports. Nuclear provides ‘baseload’ electricity, the minimum amount of energy needed to power the grid, without air pollution and exceptionally low carbon emissions (similar to wind).
All too often the green energy debate is framed as ‘nuclear vs renewables’. In fact there is strength in diversity. A mix of low carbon technologies, together with Carbon Capture and Storage, and alongside efficiency measures, are needed to enable the transition from fossil fuels while meeting climate and energy security goals.
Nuclear fuel can provide more energy
An inch long pellet of Uranium-235 has more energy than one tonne of coal. A fission reaction is about a million times more energetic than a chemical reaction such as the burning of coal, oil or gas. One gram of uranium-235 when undergoing fission in a nuclear reactor gives energy roughly equivalent to burning three tonnes