Nuclear Nations

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    Nuclear Nations

    Which countries are utilising nuclear power the most?

    Nuclear power accounts for around 10% of the world’s electricity, with 440 power reactors across more than 30 countries. But where does it remain one of the most vital sources of power?

    In the UK, many companies are often mis-sold by their business energy suppliers and are left with the burden of inflated prices with imported energy. Using a reliable electricity business comparison site is imperative to avoid this.

    In July 2023, the Great British Nuclear, a non-government body dedicated to supporting the nuclear power industry, was launched, promising lower energy rates for businesses and substantial economic growth.

    Recently, the government outlined its goal to reverse the declining nuclear power capacity trend, particularly regarding the requirement to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    In April 2022, the government published its ‘British energy security strategy’ aiming to accelerate homegrown power for greater energy independence in the wake of significant turbulence in global energy markets following the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The strategy set a target for nuclear energy to generate 24 GW (gigawatts) of power by 2050, three times more than now and representing up to 25% of projected electricity demand.

    But which countries utilise nuclear power the most? We’ve looked into the number of power stations, nuclear energy use and work opportunities to reveal the most nuclear-powered nations.

    Scoring 9.14 out of 10, France ranks as the country most reliant on nuclear power

    Some countries are still utilising nuclear power a lot more than others, and to determine the destinations that are the most heavily reliant on nuclear power, we’ve looked at the number of reactors per country, nuclear energy as a percentage of national power, and interest in nuclear job postings to create an index score for each country out of 10.

    The top 10 most nuclear-powered countries

    1. France – Nuclear Score: 9.14 out of 10

    France derives around 63.30% of its electricity from nuclear energy due to a long-standing policy based on energy security. The country is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of electricity generation and gains over €3 billion per year from its exports. There are also 56 operable nuclear power reactors in operation. France records 280 nuclear career opportunities on Indeed, and there were 4,364 searches for jobs in the industry over the last year.

    France’s independent nuclear deterrence has been the primary solution to its defence strategy for sixty years. However, the French nuclear policy and its European allies have been misunderstood, especially by those who rely on French military involvement. The country’s nuclear deterrence is strictly conceived as defensive and to protect the country’s vital interests and freedom of action, with its fundamental purpose of preventing a major war.

    2. United States – Nuclear Score: 8.60 out of 10

    Electricity generation from commercial nuclear power plants in the US began in 1958, and as of May 2023, there are 93 operating units. The average age of these nuclear reactors is about 42 years old. The United States derives around 17.96% of its electricity from nuclear energy, and nuclear power plants have generated about 20% of US electricity since 1990. There are over 20,600 nuclear job positions on Indeed, and there were 9,600 searches for jobs over the last year. The highest-paid nuclear jobs in the US are nuclear design engineers, and salaries range from $172,000 to $195,000 annually.

    The US maintains absolute control and custody of their nuclear weapons forward-deployed in Europe, while allies provide military support. The nuclear sharing arrangements play a vital role in the interconnection of the alliance and remain one of the main components of security in the whole Euro-Atlantic region.

    3. United Kingdom – Nuclear Score: 7.68 out of 10

    Nuclear power in the United Kingdom generated 14.82% of the country’s electricity in 2023. EDF Energy operates nine power plants across England and Scotland. The UK’s only Pressurised Water Reactor, Sizewell B, is expected to continue generation past 2028. The UK has 5,203 jobs for nuclear careers, and there were 6,770 searches, showing that there is plenty of interest for opportunities in this sector. The government is committed to nuclear power as part of the UK’s energy mix, and statistics from the Nuclear Industry Association show that 64,509 people are employed in the UK’s nuclear industry (2022) – an increase of over 3,000 on 2021 figures.

    The UK’s nuclear deterrent is operationally independent, and only the Prime Minister can authorise the use of nuclear weapons, even if they are deployed as part of a NATO response. The UK only consider nuclear defence in extreme circumstances of self-defence, including the defence of NATO allies.

    4. Canada – Nuclear Score: 7.08 out of 10

    About 13% of Canada’s electricity comes from nuclear power, with 19 reactors, mostly in Ontario and New Brunswick, providing 13.6 GW of power capacity. Although there are fewer job opportunities in the industry compared to others in our top five (1,800 jobs on Indeed), demand for electricity across Canada is forecast to double in the next 25 years, and the government indicate that nuclear energy will supply the biggest portion of the province’s additional power. This suggests that there will be increased demand for nuclear engineers and workers.

    Canada strongly supports the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Its entry into force is a key component of the step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. It prohibits all nuclear explosions, including nuclear weapon tests. By banning these tests, CTBT helps prevent the states from developing nuclear weapons or improving them.

    5. Belgium – Nuclear Score: 6.51 out of 10

    Belgium has five nuclear reactors generating about half of its electricity (46.66%). The government has plans to close all nuclear power plants by 2025, which were delayed by ten years in March 2022. Since 2003, there has been little government support for nuclear energy and power generation. Jobs in the sector are hard to come by due to this, as there were only 209 listings on Indeed. There were also only 120 searches for nuclear jobs in the last year.

    Belgium considers international security a top priority and is in favour of a global approach and balanced progress in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, with a focus on both conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

    The United States has 93 operable nuclear reactors - nearly 70% more than any other nation

    Across the world, there are 412 nuclear reactors which generate approximately 10% of global electricity, but which countries generate the most nuclear power?

    Countires with the most operable nuclear power reactors

    1. United States – Operable nuclear power reactors: 93

    The United States is by far the largest nuclear electricity producer, with 772,221 GWh of nuclear electricity in 2022. As of 2023, 93 units were operational as the US works toward net-zero emissions by 2050.

    2. France – Operable nuclear power reactors: 56

    France announced plans to build six new reactors in 2022 and has considered building eight more units. It is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation and gains over €3 billion per year from this. France has actively developed nuclear technology, and reactors have been a significant export.

    3. China – Operable nuclear power reactors: 55

    China has added 37 nuclear reactors over the past decade, and during the same period, the US added just two. China faces an ever-growing energy demand, and its reliance on coal to meet its energy demand in recent decades has left it with dirty air. Nuclear is a clean source of electricity.

    France utilises nuclear power the most, dominating its electricity production by 63%

    Nuclear power provides about one-quarter of the world’s low-carbon electricity and is the world’s second-largest source of low-carbon power (it held 26% of the total in 2020). Over 50 countries are utilising nuclear energy in about 220 research reactors. But which countries use nuclear power the most, compared to other sources of energy?

    Countries where nuclear energy amounts to the biggest % of national total

    1. France – Nuclear energy as % of national total: 63.30%

    France derives 63.30% of its electricity from nuclear energy due to a long-standing policy based on energy security. Government policy, set in 2014, aimed to reduce nuclear’s share of electricity generation to 50% by 2025. This target was delayed in 2019 to 2035 before being abandoned in 2023.

    2. Slovakia – Nuclear energy as % of national total: 59.48%

    Almost 60% of the energy produced by Slovakia comes from nuclear power plants, which, in turn, come exclusively from Russian nuclear fuel. Slovakia has five nuclear reactors generating over half of its electricity and one more under construction. The country’s first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1972, and the government’s commitment to the future of nuclear energy is strong.

    3. China – Nuclear energy as % of national total: 47.20%

    China derives 47.20% of its electricity from nuclear energy and has been expanding international cooperation with nuclear-heavy nations, including Russia and France. In April, China and France signed cooperative agreements on strengthening their four-decade-long close relationship in nuclear energy.

    Residents in the United States and the United Kingdom are searching for jobs in the nuclear industry the most

    As the global demand for nuclear energy rises rapidly, the next generation of reactors is on the horizon. Domestic job demand is forecast to skyrocket, to maintain many countries’ nuclear technology leadership.

    The countires with the highest nuclear job search volume

    1. United States – Nuclear Job Searches: 9,600

    The United States recorded the highest volume of nuclear job searches in the last year, with 9,600 searches between November 2022 and October 2023. The benefits of working in the nuclear power industry include a fifty percent higher wage, on average, than those of other electricity generation sources. The US nuclear industry spends roughly $11 billion annually on labour, which is approximately $100 million per reactor annually. Nuclear power plants can operate for over eighty years or more, providing jobs for multiple generations of workers.

    2. United Kingdom – Nuclear Job Searches: 6,770

    The UK had the second-highest search volume with 6,770 annual searches. Statistics from the NIA have shown that the UK workforce is ageing, with a fifth of the workforce aged 55 or over, demonstrating a skills gap that needs closing. The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group’s Nuclear Workforce Assessment (2019) forecasted that between 3,200 and 4,800 new workers would be needed annually until 2025 to meet demand from new projects, so it’s a great time to consider working in nuclear engineering.

    3. Canada – Nuclear Job Searches: 1,800

    Canada had the third-highest search volume for nuclear jobs. Positions in the nuclear field are ideal for those seeking long-term job security. In 2019, a study found that the industry accounted for 76,000 jobs in Canada, with 10 reactors in Ontario alone. These units are expected to remain in operation into the 2060s and require continual new hires in the nuclear engineering field.

    There are more than 27,000 nuclear job postings in Japan - more than any other country

    There has been record growth in the nuclear workforce, according to the Nuclear Industry Association, thanks to new build projects. The UK has 77,000 civil nuclear jobs, the highest number in at least twenty years. Jobs in the nuclear industry are stable, skilled and well-paid. But which country offers the most?

    The countries with the most nuclear job postings

    Japan has the highest number of job postings for nuclear jobs, with 27,783 roles available. The Japanese government are taking steps to increase nuclear power in the country, and to ensure a long and positive future, the sector needs a large, well-trained workforce, and utilising the interest and support of future generations is key.

    The United States had the second-highest number of job postings in the nuclear field, with 20,608 jobs, followed by the UK, with 5,203 jobs.

    Methodology

    We began our research by taking a list of all countries from Statista and took the number of nuclear power reactors worldwide as of May 2023.

    Then, we took each country’s nuclear energy as a percentage of the national total from Our World in Data’s Electricity Mix, looking at the 2022 data set.

    We then used Google’s Keyword Planner to find the number of searches for ‘nuclear jobs’ in every country between November 2022 and October 2023.

    We then used Indeed to find the number of nuclear jobs in every country. Search terms in Japan, Slovakia, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands and Taiwan were translated into their spoken language for more accurate results.

    Due to ongoing conflicts, Iran, Ukraine and Russia were removed from the list.

    Every country’s score for each factor was normalised against each other to receive a score out of 10.

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