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Countries with Nuclear Power Investment Opportunities

While 31 countries have reactors, the United States, France, and Japan have the most sound nuclear investment opportunities. These are also the countries where the bulk of nuclear electricity is generated. Companies based in these countries — like GE, Areva, and Hitachi — also provide planning and construction for many nuclear reactors in other countries.

South Korea, through the Korea Electric Power Corporation (NYSE: KEP), is expanding its domestic nuclear capacity and beginning to win contracts in other countries.

Just because a country has a nuclear reactor doesn’t mean there’s an investment opportunity. Most of Russia’s reactors, for example, are built by state-owned companies like Rosenergoatom, in which you can’t invest. And Sweden’s reactors were built by Westinghouse and the General Swedish Electric Company, which only exist today as units of Toshiba and ABB, respectively.

This table lists the countries that consume the most nuclear electricity, along with the world total. The thermal power produced by reactors to make steam is calculated as megawatt thermal (MW(t)), while the electricity created by that steam is measured in megawatt electrical (MW(e)).

You can determine which countries are most efficient at producing nuclear electricity by dividing the MW(e) by the number of units they have. By this measure, the French and Germans are most efficient at generating nuclear power.

Ten Largest Consumers of Nuclear Power
Country Number of Units Total MW(e)
United States 109 99,784
France 56 58,493
Japan 59 38,875
Germany 21 22,657
Russian Federation 29 19,843
Canada 22 15,755
Ukraine 15 12,679
United Kingdom 12 11,720
Sweden 12 10,002
South Korea 10 8,170
Total 345 297,978
World 432 340,347

Globally, 167 nuclear reactors have been planned, and another 317 have been proposed. These numbers are high historically and point to countries making long-term plans to stably provide electricity as demand grows. Planned reactors alone indicate 40 percent growth in the nuclear industry, while proposed reactors would boost the industry by almost 75 percent.

This table shows the countries with the highest nuclear ambitions, including the number of reactors under construction, and the number planned and proposed. Planned reactors already have approval or funding, and are expected to come online in eight to ten years. Proposed reactors have reactor and site proposals and are expected to come online within 15 years.

China’s plan to have 60 GW of nuclear capacity by 2020 would make it the second largest nuclear market in today’s terms. Its plan to have 200 GW by 2030 and 400 GW by 2050 would make it by far the largest in the world. The nuclear expansion plans of South Korea and India would make those countries top five nuclear energy producers.

Countries with Highest Nuclear Ambitions
Country Operable Reactors Reactors Under Construction Planned Reactors Proposed Reactors
China 17 29 51 120
France 58 1 1 1
India 20 7 18 29
Japan 50 3 9 3
South Korea 23 4 5 0
Russia 33 10 17 20
Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 16
Ukraine 15 0 2 11
UAE 0 1 3 10
United States 103 3 11 13

The United States and Russia are making significant additions, but most new reactors that are planned or on order are in Asia and the Middle East. The plans of countries like Saudi Arabia are pretty transparent: They want to produce nuclear electricity at home instead of burning precious oil that can be exported.

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