Energy Investing: Countries Most Reliant on Nuclear Energy

By Nick Hodge, Jeff Siegel, Christian DeHaemer, Keith Kohl

Energy investors should know that nuclear power is growing. Nuclear energy is used primarily for electricity. As with coal, nuclear demand is growing as people in places such as China and India want modern conveniences like turning the lights on and running the dishwasher.

In Malaysia, for example, the total number of households with television sets is expected to rise by more than 30 percent over the next ten years as the electric grid expands.

For the past 50 years, the three cornerstones of electricity production have been fossil, hydro, and nuclear. Nuclear power is growing — not only overall but also as a percentage of the electricity fuel source. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, 31 countries worldwide are operating 437 nuclear reactors for electricity generation, and 71 nuclear plants are now under construction in 14 countries.

Nuclear energy produced at least 12.3 percent of global electricity needs in 2011 (Some estimates are as high as 17 percent). Thirty countries currently use nuclear power, but only three of them — France, Slovakia, and Belgium — use nuclear as the prime source of electricity. Thirteen countries rely on nuclear energy to supply at least 30 percent of their total electricity.

This table lists the countries that are most dependent on nuclear power.

Countries That Are Most Reliant on Nuclear Energy
Country Percent of Generated Electricity, 2011
France 77.7%
Slovakia 54.0%
Belgium 54.0%
Ukraine 47.2%
Hungary 43.3%
Slovenia 41.7%
Switzerland 40.9%
Sweden 39.6%
South Korea 34.6%
Armenia 33.2%
Czech Republic 33.0%
Bulgaria 32.6%
Finland 31.6%