There are over 50 commercial nuclear reactors being built in other countries around the world right now. They are in China, India, Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Japan, France, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Iran, South Korea and Russia. But only two are being built in the United States.
In a small sample of world news from just the past few months:
South Korea and the UK signed an agreement that may lead to South Korea building new nuclear plants in the UK. India has given financial approval for starting ten new reactors over the next three years, while they currently have eight reactors already under construction. Finland’s 1.6 gigawatt Olkiluoto 3 reactor just went online and combined with the older Olkiluoto 1 and 2 reactors this single site is now producing 30% of Finland’s electricity. Orlen Synthos Green Energy signed financial agreements to build about 20 small modular reactors in Poland with a combined capacity of about 6% of the total current US commercial nuclear capacity.
France produces 70% of its electricity from nuclear. While swept up in anti-nuke fervor in 2015 they passed legislation that would reduce that to 50% by 2035. But last month reason regained a foothold, and their National Assembly voted 97 to 26 to rescind the 2015 legislation. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for energy transition, now says she no longer wants any ceiling on the France’s nuclear fraction.
The U.S. has about 90 operating commercial reactors with a capacity of about 100 gigawatts. Of these reactors, only one has started operating in this century. China has about 50 commercial nuclear reactors in operation, nearly all of then started this century. They have started building 17 new reactors since 2020 alone, plan to build a whopping 155 more by 2035 and to increase their installed capacity by 250 gigawatts in the next 27 years!
What happened to the US energy mojo? It has been smothered by the tie-dyed anti-nuke Luddites of the 1970s and 1980s who have became the lawyers and bureaucrats litigating their way through the 21st century. It is time to support clean nuclear energy and an abundant energy future for all people. It is time to regain our optimism and embrace this fundamental ingredient for world prosperity: nuclear energy.
Tom Moriarty, Arvada