- JoNova - https://www.joannenova.com.au -

There are 451 nuclear power plants in the world (and Australia has none of them)

Several National MP’s have pushed for the Australian Parliament to discuss whether the land with more uranium than anywhere else should use nuclear power. Typical how it takes conservative politicians to raise the question about one of the most successful low-carbon generations there is.  On the one hand a million animals might go extinct, seas will swallow up our cities and children won’t know what snow is. On the other hand, one forty year old plant in a modern democracy came unstuck when a 13 m tidal wave hit and at least one person died. The Greens are more afraid of nuclear power than they are of climate change.

If there really was a problem with global warming, we’d want conservatives in charge, because they’d solve the problem, and more cost effectively.

Unbeknown to most Australians there are 451 nuclear plants around the world. The only advanced nations that are truly without it are Australia and New Zealand. Nations like Norway, Ireland, and Poland don’t have nuclear power plants but are connected via a grid to countries which do.

The IEA last week published a report titled “Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System”. I’ll say more about that soon. I used the IEA data to create this graph.

Spot the superpower:

Nuclear power, capacity, country, IEA 2019.

Nuclear power, capacity, country, IEA 2019.  (Click to enlarge)

It helps to have a second graph. France looks very impressive above, but nuclear power provides 70% of its electricity. In the USA, that large spike is a mere 20% of total power (see below).

The USA is using every source of energy it can…

Nuclear power, share by generation fuel.

Nuclear power, share by generation fuel. (Click to enlarge)


So nearly everyone else has nukes. Though a consensus is only so useful. It doesn’t mean it’s cost effective for a wide brown isolated grid which has other options. We do, after all, have 300 years of coal power (and exports) at our disposal. And as we’ve seen in past studies, coal was still cheaper.

Should we have a discussion? What kind of crazy-land would not?

9.6 out of 10 based on 72 ratings