Kirt's Cogitations™ #213
U.S. Leads the Nuclear Energy Pack

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   Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or reflection; meditation; contemplation.
   Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.

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U.S. Leads the Nuclear Energy Pack

Believe it or not, as of 2005, the U.S. is still the world’s largest generator of commercial electrical power using nuclear energy, although as a percentage of the total national electrical energy generated, it ranks only #13 out of the top 30. In 2005, there were 103 commercial nuclear generating units operate here. In all, those power stations generate about 20% of our nation’s power. I was surprised to learn that it is that high of a percentage. In December 2005 alone, 71.7 billion kWh of energy was produced by those stations, according to the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Coal has been and continues to dominate as the primary fuel, accounting for about 40% of the world's generation. Natural gas and renewable (hydroelectric, wind turbines, etc.) sources each contribute approximately 18% of the world's total, nuclear 16%, and oil 8%.

Total energy consumption worldwide for 2005 was an astounding 26 trillion kWh. That’s up from 14.3 trillion kWh in 2002. Much of the increase has been due to China’s rapid industrialization. China could use more nuclear power plants to stem the rise in pollution. The major Chinese cities suffer enormously from smog now because environmental regulations are practically non-existent. As of 2004, only about 3% of China's total energy was supplied by nuclear power plants. Coal, natural gas, timber, hydro, and oil fuel the bulk of China's rising industrial power, with virtually unchecked emissions. Sure, they are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, but do not – or do, if you live there – hold your breath while waiting for meaningful clean air regulations for be implemented and enforced since organized protestors would likely be rolled over by tanks ala the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Here is a list of countries that currently have nuclear power plants, along with the approximate portion of the country’s total energy consumption provided by nuclear power. Note that many are part of the former USSR, and had established their nuclear programs before the breakup.

Country Nuclear
Country Nuclear
France 78% Finland 27%
Lithuania 72% Spain 23%
Slovakia 55% United States 20%
Belgium 55% United Kingdom 20%
Sweden 52% Russia 14%
Ukraine 52% Canada 14%
Bulgaria 41% Romania 10%
Slovenia 40% Argentina 8%
South Korea 40% South Africa 6%
Switzerland 40% Mexico 5%
Armenia 39% Netherlands 3%
Hungary 33% Brazil 2%
Germany 32% India 2%
Czech Republic 31% Pakistan 2%
Japan 29% China 2%