This paper and commentary were first published in the Imperial Engineer, Issue Fifteen, Autumn 2011. The Imperial Engineer is the periodical magazine published for members of The City & Guilds and The Royal School of Mines Associations at Imperial College, London University, UK. This paper, together with discussion and our comments, is republished here with permission, March 2013. Copyright remains with authors Bill McAuley and Robin Grimes.

Editor's Note | Fukushima - by Bill McAuley and Robin Grimes
The Earthquake and its Immediate Aftermath  | Present Status | Root Causes | Then and Now
Health Scare Exaggerated | We Need Nuclear | 1000 Deaths | Editor's Postscript

Editor's Postscript

According to Nuclear Power in the World Today:[1]

  • The first commercial nuclear power stations started operation in the 1950s.
  • There are now over 430 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 31 countries, with 372,000 MWe of total capacity.
  • They provide about 13.5% of the world's electricity as continuous, reliable base-load power, and their efficiency is increasing.
  • 56 countries operate a total of about 240 research reactors and a further 180 nuclear reactors power some 150 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 and Finland normally get more than a quarter of their power from nuclear energy, while in the USA one fifth is from nuclear. Among countries that do not host nuclear power plants, Italy gets about 10% of its power from nuclear, and Denmark about 8%.

Figure 3: Distribution of fuel used for electricity generation in 2008.
Figure 3: Distribution of fuel used for electricity generation in 2008.

Coal is the largest source and undoubtedly the dirtiest of all.

Environmentalists please take note.

1000 deaths  1000 Deaths

1. See
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