Nuclear Power

Thirty-one countries have nuclear power plants (September 2016) accounting for just under 11% of global electricity generation. Twelve of them depend on nuclear for at least a third of their juice, including France (75%), along with Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine (50 to 55 %). In the US that figure stands at about 20%, as in Britain. link  Safety, massive cost overruns and building delays are major problems for any future projects which would require huge government subsidies. No nuclear reactor has ever been built anywhere in the world without substantial government subsidy, and no reactor ever will be built without substantial government funding in future. Also private investors are not enamoured by nuclear power because construction risks are too high (with cost overruns and substantial delays all but guaranteed), and the political risks (with governments constantly changing their mind about levels of support) even higher. [A short history of nuclear fission – link     



  • Is nuclear power safe?
  • What is the real cost of nuclear?
  • Is thorium fuel an alternative?
  • Nuclear fusion energy / Fourth generation reactors
  • Waste storage – a problem for 60 years.
  • France’s nuclear dilemma
  • Uranium
  • Elsewhere in the world

See also Nuclear Power in USA page  – link
Nuclear Information and Resource Service  link
Recommended link for information on nuclear history etc. – Mother Jones   

 Is Nuclear Power safe?

August 2018: As sea levels rise, nuclear reactors around the world face new challenges. At least 100 U.S., European and Asian nuclear power stations built just a few meters above sea level could be threatened by serious flooding caused by accelerating sea-level rise and more frequent storm surges according to latest research. Some efforts are underway to prepare for increased flooding risk in the future. But a number of scientific papers published in 2018 suggest that climate change will impact coastal nuclear plants earlier and harder than the industry, governments or regulatory bodies have expected, and that the safety standards set by national nuclear regulators and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the IEAA (International Atomic Energy Agency) are out of date and take insufficient account of the effects of climate change on nuclear power. link

May 2016: The lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima. In 2016 65 new nuclear reactors were under construction, which means that despite heated debates about its future, the atomic energy industry is far from being dead. But as scientists and doctors have yet to explore all of the effects on human health and on the environment of Chernobyl and Fukushima, it’s the next generations that will have the final say on the matter. link

What is called the “Third Generation” of nuclear plants is running into serious problems as countries envisage nuclear power solving energy shortages before 2020. A recent report suggests major setbacks for nuclear energy plans with flaws in US and French models (link) and Britain’s nuclear regulator said he would not hesitate to halt construction if problems emerged as expected. (No British nuclear power station had ever been built on time.) link

The Union of Concerned Scientists informs that the probability of a serious nuclear accident is low, but the consequences can be catastrophic. Nuclear power plants are complex systems operated by human beings who can and do make mistakes. As such, they are vulnerable to accidents and failures because of natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes and extreme weather, fires, equipment failures, improper maintenance, and human errors. UCS experts provide analysis on these infrequent but serious threats – and what the NRC should be doing about them. link  While the World Nuclear Association naturally claims nuclear to be a safe form of energy, saying there have been three major reactor accidents in the history of civil nuclear power, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima,  nuclear power experts, computer models and other analyses have consistently shown for decades that a problem in the older boiling-water reactors employed at Fukushima Daiichi would become disastrous because of a flawed safety system that houses the nuclear fuel, known as the Mark I containment. The U.S. has 23 reactors with the same kind of safety systems, and the same risky placement of pools for spent nuclear fuel, namely, alongside the main reactor in the top of the reactor building. link

January 2015: Nuclear radiation can affect food 80 miles away. Nuclear waste released from the Cumbrian processing plant in England has made fish and shellfish caught sad far away as Scotland, 80 miles distant slightly radioactive. Traces of radiation have also been found in fruit, vegetables and milk in parts of north-east Scotland. link

Many of the world’s 442 nuclear power reactors are by the sea, rather than by lakes or rivers, to ensure vast water supplies for cooling fuel rods in emergencies like that at the Fukushima plant on Japan’s east coast. This exposes the dilemma of whether to build power plants on tsunami-prone coasts or inland sites where water supplies are unreliable, a problem likely to be aggravated by climate change, experts say. [Map of nuclear power plants around the globe suspect to earthquakes – link

Leukemia. (February 2008) Evidence from government-sponsored studies in Germany suggests that young children who live close to nuclear power stations are twice as vulnerable to developing leukemia. link

As with coal-fired plants, nuclear facilities can be considered a threat to our water needs. Progress’s Harris nuclear reactor in North Carolina, for example, sucks up 33 million gallons of water a day, with 17 million gallons lost to evaporation via its big cooling towers. If the south-eastern region of the U.S.A. is heading towards future droughts, as predicted, this will seriously affect water availability for the public. Other concern at this particular plant highlight security issues at all nuclear plants, as this article identifies: “Guards sound alarm over security at Shearon Harris nuclear plant”

BRITAIN: The BBC reported that it will take over 100 years before the toxic nuclear site at Sellafield (formerly Windscale) is safe. A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: “Sellafield isn’t a place that can just be closed down. It is about the removal of plant and equipment from the building, it is about decontaminating and knocking them down, that takes decades. It has been estimated that it will cost £73bn ($136 bn) to decommission all nuclear civilian facilities in the UK. link   (Page on Sellafield link

February 2010: Quarter of U.S. nuclear plants found to be releasing radioactive tritium – link  

 The real costs of nuclear

“Despite industry efforts to frame nuclear energy as the cheapest option, the reality is that nuclear power’s very survival has required large and continuous government support,” writes Doug Koplow in a Christian Science Monitor article (no longer on line). Mr. Koplow tracks $178 billion in public subsidies for nuclear energy for the period from 1947 to 1999. Others have reached similar figures. Altogether, nuclear-industry bailouts in the 1970s and ’80s cost taxpayers and ratepayers in excess of $300 billion in 2006 dollars, according to three independent studies cited in a new nuclear-cost study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. In 2008 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported the average risk of default on government guarantees for nuclear projects was 50%. Mark Cooper, senior fellow at Vermont

October 2016: Fusion energy seems the perfect solution to solve energy demands of mankind without producing greenhouse gases. Fusion energy is created with a nuclear reaction. So is it safe?  We know how to reproduce, on Earth, the energy that makes stars shine. There are still some steps left to be taken before fusion energy becomes feasible and the efforts taken to realize it will pay off. link

Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment, said that even if no loans were defaulted on, nuclear would be too expensive: Wall Street is unwilling to finance any new capital projects without a 100% federal guarantee. (Doug Koplow is president of the Boston energy consulting company Earth Track: more here for his analysis that nuclear power is still not viable without subsidies.)

December 2016: Legacy of lies and cover-ups leaves nuclear energy revival elusive. There have been three well-documented major nuclear accidents in the last 60 years, each one accompanied by official lies and cover-ups. Other less well-known serious accidents have been so effectively hushed up that decades later there are only the sketchiest details available. The legacy of these disasters is a deep distrust of the industry. In some leading industrial countries this has led to governments being forced to abandon nuclear power altogether, while others face such strong opposition to new stations being built that they have abandoned the idea, although they still keep the old ones operating, at least for now. link

August 2016: Nuclear power is losing money at an astonishing rate. Half of existing nuclear power plants are no longer profitable, and renewables aren’t the primary cause of the industry’s woes, but cheap fracked gas. The $7.6 billion New York state just decided to give its nuclear plants appears to be way too large. A July Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis concluded that nukes producing 56% of U.S. nuclear power would be unprofitable over the next three years. link

July 2014: Report paints bleak future for nuclear power. The globe’s nuclear power industry is aging, plagued with high costs and construction delays, and generally on the decline. Nuclear power’s share in global energy production declined to 10.8% in 2013, down from 17.6% at its peak in 1996. link

(1992 figures) Commercial nuclear power has thus far cost $492 billion dollars in the USA, $97 billion of which has been in the form of federal subsidies. This excluded costs such as health effects of radiation, accidents, adequate insurance, which could well total another $375 billion. This figure does not include the almost certain escalation in future waste and decommissioning costs. link

February 2016: Cost is compelling factor stalling US nuclear industry – link

June 2011: Decommissioning a nuclear plant can cost $1 billion and take decadesAlthough the usual critiques of nuclear generation revolve around safety risks and high construction fees, relatively little attention has been paid to what happens when a nuclear plant powers down for good. Costs can reach over $1 billion. Every nuclear plant must be decommissioned at the end of its useful life, usually after it has been operating for 40-60 years. The costly, labor-intensive process involves two major actions: nuclear waste disposal and decontamination to reduce residual radioactivity. link

Nuclear is not the answer to the climate crisis. (December 2015) Many scientists around the world remain sceptical that nuclear is the answer, or even part of the answer, to climate change. The academic authors have a fine record in identifying the causes and consequences of climate change, but their proposed solution simply doesn’t make sense. The main problem is that, contrary what many think, nuclear power is a poor method of reducing carbon emissions: its uranium ore and fuel processes have heavy carbon footprints. Indeed, of the ways to reduce carbon emissions in the energy sphere, nuclear is by far the most expensive in terms of pound per tonne of carbon saved. link
 Thorium power as an alternative

LTFR (liquid-fluoride thorium reactor) technology was developed by the US military in the 1950s and 1960s and was shown to have many benefits. For example, reactors of this type can be smaller than conventional uranium reactors, partly thanks to their low-pressure operation. Despite its early promise, research into liquid-fluoride thorium reactors was abandoned, the most likely reason being that the technology offered no potential for producing nuclear weapons. The fuel is abundant and distributed across the world, there is no real possibility of creating weapons-grade material as part of the process and the waste remains toxic for hundreds rather than thousands of years. 

January 2018: Thorium reactors may dispose of enormous amounts of weapons-grade plutonium. Russian scientists are developing a technology enabling the creation of high-temperature gas-cool low-power reactors with thorium fuel. TPU scientists propose to burn weapons-grade plutonium in these units, converting it into power and thermal energy. Thermal energy generated at thorium reactors may be used in hydrogen industrial production. The technology also makes it possible to desalinate water. The main advantage of such plants will be their multi-functionality. Firstly efficient disposal of one of the most dangerous radioactive fuels in thorium reactors, secondly to generate power and heat, thirdly, with its help, it will be possible to develop industrial hydrogen production. link

July 2017: India has almost finished the world’s first advanced thorium nuclear reactor. India expects to complete their thorium nuclear reactor in Kalpakkam by the end of 2017. The reactor will generate 500MW of electricity by using the element thorium instead of uranium, which is rare in India. link

March 2014: China advances thorium plans. In an effort to reduce the number of coal-fired plants, the Chinese government has brought forward by 15 years the deadline to develop a nuclear power plant using the radioactive element thorium instead of uranium in an attempt to reduce its reliance on coal and to cut air pollution. A team of researchers in Shanghai has now been told it has 10 instead of 25 years to develop the world’s first such plant. link  (Pictured at left – thorium pellets.) 

Thorium fuel – No Panacea for Nuclear Power. Thorium, which refers to thorium-232, is a radioactive metal that is about three times more abundant than uranium in the natural environment. Large known deposits are in Australia, India, and Norway. Some of the largest reserves are found in Idaho in the U.S. A fact sheet produced by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Physicians for Social Responsibility, however, claims that thorium fuel is not a panacea for nuclear power with problems both of cost and safety. link

December 2013: Thorium alternative revives nuclear prospects – link  
September 2012: UK report on Thorium prospects – link
February 2011: Meanwhile development is planned for Japan – link                            

Nuclear fusion energy/ Fourth generation reactors

March 2018: Nuclear fusion on brink of being realized. The dream of nuclear fusion is on the brink of being realised, according to a major new US initiative that says it will put fusion power on the grid within 15 years. The project, a collaboration between scientists at MIT and a private company, will take a radically different approach to other efforts to transform fusion from an expensive science experiment into a viable commercial energy source. The promise of fusion is huge: it represents a zero-carbon, combustion-free source of energy. The problem is that until now every fusion experiment has operated on an energy deficit, making it useless as a form of electricity generation. Decades of disappointment in the field has led to the joke that fusion is the energy of the future – and always will be.  link

October 2016: An optimistic analysis. Fusion energy seems the perfect solution to solve energy demands of mankind without producing greenhouse gases. Fusion energy is created with a nuclear reaction. So is it safe?  We know how to reproduce, on Earth, the energy that makes stars shine. There are still some steps left to be taken before fusion energy becomes feasible and the efforts taken to realize it will pay off. link

March 2018: Too good to be true? Fusion technology promises an inexhaustible supply of clean, safe power. If it all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. link

Fast-breed reactor and fourth generation alternative.

July 2012: Are fast-breeder reactors the answer to nuclear waste? Plutonium is the nuclear nightmare, so science is looking – again – to fast-breeder reactors. A typical 1,000MW reactor produces 27 tons of spent fuel a year. None of it yet has a home. If not used as a fuel, it will need to be kept isolated for thousands of years to protect humans and wildlife. Burial deep underground seems the obvious solution, but nobody has yet built a geological repository. Fast-breeder technology is almost as old as nuclear power. As only fast reactors can consume the plutonium, critics argue that, even if it works properly, mox fuel is an expensive way of generating not much energy, while leaving most of the plutonium intact, albeit in a less dangerous form. Theoretically at least, fast reactors can keep recycling their own fuel until all the plutonium is gone, generating electricity all the while. Britain’s huge plutonium stockpile makes it a vast energy resource. David MacKay, Britain’s chief scientist recently said British plutonium contains enough energy to run the country’s electricity grid for 500 years. link

May 2016: Fourth generation nuclear alternatives. Nuclear power currently provides 11% of the world’s energy. But that number needs to grow to 17% to hit the globe’s targeted CO2 emission reduction levels by 2050, according to the IEA. There are six leading technologies among the so-called fourth generation of nuclear power plants, all of them offer improvements, but MSR (molten salt reactors) promises the best economy, some experts say. link

 Nuclear waste – a problem for 60 years

July 2017: Europe struggles to dispose of nuclear waste. Six decades after the construction of the first wave of nuclear power plants, no country has opened a permanent storage site. Spent nuclear fuel and other contaminated material, deadly byproducts of electricity generation, remain stockpiled in temporary locations around Europe and the world, sometimes alongside the reactors where they were used. link 

June 2017: Finland’s 100-year plan for burying nuclear waste. Beneath a forested patch of land on the Gulf of Bothnia, at the bottom of a steep tunnel that winds for three miles through granite bedrock, Finland is getting ready to entomb its nuclear waste. The fuel, which contains plutonium and other products of nuclear fission, will remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years – time enough for a new ice age and other epochal events. But between the 2-inch-thick copper, the clay and the surrounding ancient granite, officials say, there should be no risk of contamination to future generations. link

February 2016: Britain leads race to make nuclear waste safe for 100,000 years. British scientists are designing a revolutionary cement that could withstand the impact of intense radiation for thousands of years. The project could prove vital in dealing with the challenges of Britain’s proposed expansion of its nuclear industry. It is estimated that about 300,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive intermediate waste, including old fuel rods and irradiated reactor components, will have accumulated in the UK by 2030 as a result of this expansion. link

February 2014: Nuclear waste gets expensive. Across Europe and North America the problem of decommissioning existing stations is huge, and the cost astronomical. As a result a new decommissioning industry is growing very rapidly. The attraction for the industry is the enormous amount of taxpayers’ money that will have to be found to deal with the problem. Already the British Government is spending £3 billion a year across 19 sites just to begin a process that is expected to cost £100 billion. Across Europe there are 144 reactors in operation, of which one third will have started their decommissioning process by 2025. There is enough work to keep thousands of people employed for more than a century. The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates that the total value of the decommissioning and waste management market is £250 bn – a figure that is bound to rise. link

May 2017: Scientists warn storage of nuclear waste poses threat to U.S. The reluctance of U.S. federal regulators to require operators of nuclear reactors to spend $5 billion to enhance the security of spent fuel rods stored underground threatens the country with a potential catastrophe. link  

See page on Yucca Mountain

April 2016: Catastrophic radioactive leak at Hanford waste storage facility. Since 1989 the work at Hanford has focused solely on cleanup where plutonium production continued throughout the Cold War. The new leak poses problems on several fronts. The outer shell of AY-102 does not have exhaust or filtration systems to keep the dangerous gases created by the waste, in check. Workers have been ordered to wear full respiratory safety gear in the area, but the risk remains. “The primary tanks weren’t designed to stage waste like this for so many years,” said a current worker. “There’s always the question, ‘Are the outer shells compromised’”? link 

Illegal dumping at sea.

In Italy, an informant from the Calabrian mafia said the mafia had muscled in on the lucrative business of radioactive waste disposal. He said that instead of getting rid of the material safely, he blew up the vessel out at sea, off the Calabrian coast. He also says he was responsible for sinking two other ships containing toxic waste. As many as 30 ships could be involved. BBC   Somalian coast: Ahmedou Ould-Abdalla, the UN envoy to Somalia said: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is lead, heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Seemingly European hospitals and factories pass it onto the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. After the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. link

August 2012: Russian radioactive waste in Arctic seas. The catalogue of waste dumped at sea by the Soviets, according to documents seen by Bellona, and released by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, includes some 17,000 containers of radioactive waste. link

Nuclear waste storage: bad news from Sweden. A Swedish method of storage using copper-coated containers is being studied. The containers would be buried 500 metres underground for 100,000 years. (Plutonium, unfortunately, is still dangerous after 250,000 years). The project hopes to store high-level nuclear waste. The thickness of the copper surrounding the waste is planned to be five centimetres thick. One scientist says that in the worst case, the containers may only last 1,000 years. link

January 2010: Germany’s endless search for a nuclear waste dump. Germany has been looking for a permanent storage site for its nuclear waste for over 30 years. If Germany’s nuclear phase-out continues as planned, at least 17,200 tons of spent fuel rods will have to be disposed of, not to mention the irradiated tubes, filters and parts of the reactor vessels of decommissioned nuclear power plants. link
July 2016: Germany may not see proper nuclear waste storage for decades – link

 France’s Nuclear Dilemma

July 2017: France to reduce nuclear reliance. A 2015 law requires France to reduce in eight years the share of atomic power generation to 50% from over 75% currently, and include more renewable wind and solar generation. Ecology minister Hulot said that for France to meet that target, it might have to shut down up to 17 of its 58 nuclear reactors operated by state-controlled utility EDF. link

June 2015: France’s nuclear age under challenge. In fulfillment of a campaign promise, President François Hollande’s government is aiming to pass legislation that will cement a nuclear energy drawdown, bringing nuclear’s share of generation to 50% by 2025 in an effort to diversify France’s energy production as the country adopts new targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Now, some of France’s reactors are showing wrinkles. France’s oldest reactor, Fessenheim 1, started operations in 1977 and officials need to decide whether to invest in costly safety upgrades to keep them operating or to decommission them, another expensive prospect that leaves open the possibility that fossil fuels may rise to meet the shortfall. link

January 2008: Highly radioactive waste in Normandy problem. Thousands of canisters of highly radioactive waste from the world’s most nuclear-energized nation lie, silent and deadly, in Normandy. The spent fuel, vitrified into blocks of black glass that will remain dangerous for thousands of years, is in “interim storage.” Like nearly all the world’s nuclear waste, it is still waiting for the long-term disposal solution that has eluded scientists and governments in the six decades since the atomic era began. The deadliest bits, such as fuel rod casings and other reactor parts as well as concentrated fuel residue containing plutonium and highly enriched uranium, must be sealed and stored away.” link

France’s nuclear failures: The great illusion of nuclear energy – pdf
October 2009: Inquiry into claims that EDF ‘dumped’ uraniumFrance’s ecology minister called for an inquiry into reports that EDF, the world’s biggest nuclear reactor operator, is storing hundreds of tonnes of depleted uranium in open-air sites in Siberia. According to a documentary due to be broadcast, 13% of the spent fuel from the utility giant’s French nuclear reactors is shipped to Russia and left there indefinitely in metal containers. Environmentalists say the material, the result of nuclear reprocessing, is proof that the industry’s claims to be almost entirely “recyclable” are misleading. link

 Uranium mining hazards

Owners and operators of U.S. commercial nuclear power reactors buy uranium in various forms as well as enrichment services from other countries. U.S. nuclear plants purchased 58 million pounds of uranium in 2012 from both domestic and foreign suppliers; 83% of this total was of foreign origin. About 38% of the enriched uranium needed to fabricate fuel for U.S. reactors was supplied by foreign enrichers. link  Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia are the producers of uranium. link

Traditionally, uranium has been extracted from open-pits and underground mines. In the past decade, alternative techniques such in-situ leach mining, in which solutions are injected into underground deposits to dissolve uranium, have become more widely used. Most mines in the U.S. have shut down and imports account for about three-fourths of the roughly 16 metric tons of refined uranium used domestically each year, Canada being the largest single supplier. The milling (refining) process extracts uranium oxide (U3O8) from ore to form yellowcake, a yellow or brown powder that contains about 90% uranium oxide. Conventional mining techniques generate a substantial quantity of mill tailings waste during the milling phase, because the usable portion is generally less than one percent of the ore. The total volume of mill tailings generated in the U.S. is over 95% of the volume of all radioactive waste from all stages of the nuclear weapons and power production. The half-lives of the principal radioactive components of mill tailings, thorium-230 and radium-226 are long, being about 75,000 years and 1,600 years respectively. The most serious health hazard associated with uranium mining is lung cancer due to inhaling uranium decay products. Uranium mill tailings contain radioactive materials, notably radium-226, and heavy metals (e.g., manganese and molybdenum) which can leach into groundwater. Near tailings piles, water samples have shown levels of some contaminants at hundreds of times the government’s acceptable level for drinking water. Mining and milling operations in the U.S. have disproportionately affected indigenous populations around the globe. For example, nearly one third of all mill tailings from abandoned mill operations are on lands of the Navajo nation alone. Many Native Americans have died of lung cancers linked to their work in uranium mines. Others continue to suffer the effects of land and water contamination due to seepage and spills from tailings piles. link  [Pictured – Tailings Dams at the Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia – world’s largest uranium deposit. 10 million tonnes of radioactive tailings are brought to the surface every year. The mine operations consumes 35 million litres of water a day taken free of charge from the Great Artesian Basin. (Source: Still frame from “A Hard Rain”, David Bradbury, Frontline Films)

July 2013: Decreasing supplies of uranium contradict expansion plans. The US, China, and India all plan to dramatically ramp up nuclear power production in coming decades, but their energy strategies completely overlook potential uranium supply challenges. A new study, based on an analysis of global deposit depletion profiles from past and present uranium mining, forecasts a global uranium mining peak of approximately 58 kilotonnes (kton) by 2015, declining gradually to 54 ktons by 2025, after which production would drop more steeply to at most 41 ktons around 2030, with warnings of an imminent supply gap that will result in spiralling fuel costs in the next decades. Uranium producers must extract lower grade uranium which generates less energy than higher grades. On average, the study finds only 50-70% of initial uranium resource estimates can be extracted. link

Activists warn US lawmakers of uranium mining perils. (February 2009) Seventy percent of uranium-rich areas are situated on land inhabited by low-income indigenous communities in places such as Niger and aboriginal lands in Australia. link

Note: The sole U.S. plant that enriches uranium for civilian power reactors, located in Paducah, Kentucky, accomplishes this via an energy-hogging process that consumes 15 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year and uses 26 million gallons of water per day. link

 Elsewhere in the world

As of November 2016, 450 nuclear power plant units operate in 31 countries with an installed electric net capacity of about 392GW in operation, and 60 plants with an installed capacity of 60GW are in 16 countries under construction. link

May 2018: US launches nuclear initiative to cut carbon with Canada, Japan, UK. The coalition aims at promoting nuclear power as a carbon-free energy source around the world. The Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy (Nice) partnership will be launched May 24 at a ministerial summit being held in Copenhagen and Malmö. “If the world is serious about reducing emissions and growing economies, then the ministerial must consider all options when it comes to carbon-free power, including clean, reliable nuclear energy,” said US deputy energy secretary Dan Brouillette. link

February 2011: The world’s nuclear plants provide about 14% of the world’s electricity. A further 180 nuclear reactors power some 140 ships and submarines. Sixteen countries depend on nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electricity. France gets around three quarters of its power from nuclear energy, while Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia and Ukraine get one third or more. Japan, Germany and Finland get more than a quarter of their power from nuclear energy, while in the USA one fifth is from nuclear. Among countries which do not host nuclear power plants, Italy gets about 10% of its power from nuclear, and Denmark about 8%. link