Using the data from Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) we have collected the information on the world’s largest nuclear power plants.
Nuclear Power Plants — By Region & Country
Maintained by IAEA, PRIS contains a detailed database on operational, under-construction, and decommissioned nuclear power plants.
According to the PRIS database (updated 2022-05-12), 441 nuclear power reactors with 393,853 MWe net capacity are operational. Similarly, 53 nuclear power reactors with 54,517 MWe net capacity are under construction worldwide.
Europe, Asia and North America are the regions with most operational nuclear reactors and total net electrical capacity. The Asian region, particularly China is expanding its nuclear capacity more than any other region.
The United States has the most operational nuclear power capacity and plants i.e. 93 operational plants and a net capacity of 95,253 MW(e). Moreover, the country generates 789,919 GWh of electricity — more than 30% of global nuclear energy production. Similarly, with 56 power plants and an operational net capacity of 61,370 MWe, France lies in the second spot. France gets 70% of its electricity via nuclear sources. China is in the third spot with 55 reactors and a net capacity of 52,170 MWe. China is rapidly growing its nuclear power production capacity via building new plants more than any other country.
Other countries with the most nuclear reactors and capacity are; Japan, Russia, South Korea, Canada, Ukraine, Spain, India, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
Additionally, the biggest nuclear power generating countries are:
- USA — 789, 919 GWh (30.9% share)
- China — 344,748 GWh (13.5% share)
- France — 338,671 GWh (13.3% share)
- Russia — 201,821 GWh (7.9% share)
Please note the data from PRIS pertains to energy production by each country in 2020. For more, click here.
Largest Nuclear Power Plants in the World
Out of 441 operational nuclear power plants in 32 countries, let’s learn a thing or two about some largest nuclear power plants.
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant – Japan
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant is the world’s largest power plant with an enormous net capacity of 7,965 MW. Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO) owns and operates the plant that started its operation in 1985. The plant has more than seven boiling water reactors (BWR) which use low-enriched uranium. The first five units have a gross capacity of 1,100 MW, while the remaining have 1,356 MW each.
The plant has experienced many setbacks, including nuclear disasters, earthquakes, and partial and complete shutdowns.
Kori Power Plant – South Korea
With a net capacity of 7,489 MW, Kori Power Plant is in second place among the world’s largest power plants. Located near Busan, the power plant started operations in 1978. The plant is the oldest power plant in South Korea. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power owns and controls the plant.
The plant consists of eight reactors, of which only seven are working.
Bruce Nuclear Generating Station – Canada
Located in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada, this is North America’s largest Power Plant. Bruce Nuclear Generating Station — with a capacity of 6,550 MW — is in the third spot among the world’s largest power plants. The plant consists of 8 pressurized heavy water reactors. Owned by Ontario Power Generation, the plant construction took place in stages between 1970 and 1987. The plant’s capacity was further enhanced by 22MW from the upgrade of Unit 3 in 2019.
Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant – China
Located in Lianyungang, China, Tianwan is the largest power plant in China. The plant has a net capacity of 6,070 MW and is in the fourth spot on the list of largest power plants in the world. Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation — a joint venture of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Atomstroyexport (ASE) — co-owns the plant. It consists of six operational reactors with a capacity of 1000MW each, while two units are still under construction. After completing all the under-construction work, Tianwan NPP will likely become the largest power plant in the world.
Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant & Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station – China
Fuqing and Yangjiang Power Plants are the fifth-largest power plants with a net capacity of 6000 MW each.
Located in Fuqing, Fujian Province, Fuqing NPP consists of 4 CPR1000 pressurized water reactors. The first Unit started operations in 2014, while the latest Unit 6 began operations in March 2022.
On the other hand, Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station, situated in Guangdong Province, China, began its operations in 2014. Yangjiang station has 6 CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors and a capacity of 1000 MW. It is China’s biggest nuclear power project based on one-timed approved units.
Hanul Nuclear Power Plant – South Korea
Hanul Nuclear Power Plant is in the 6th spot among the largest power plants in the world. Located in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, the plant has a net capacity of 5,928 MWe. The facility has 6 PWRs (pressurized water reactors), and the first Unit went commercial in 1988. Hanul Nuclear Power Plant is the pride of South Korea as the plant has all the Korean-made components with six operational Units, while four more Units are under-construction. The plant has an annual output of 39,795 GWh.
Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant – South Korea
The 7th largest power plant in the world is Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, with a net capacity of 5,875 MW. The plant consists of all PWRs. The first Unit (Hanibat-1) started operations in 1986. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) operates this plant of 6 Units.
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant – Ukraine
On the 8th spot, we have the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant with an installed capacity of 5,700 MW. The plant contains 6 VVER-1000 PWR fueled reactors of 950MW capacity each. This NPP is the largest Nuclear Power Plant in Europe, operated by the state-run National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine (Energoatom). From 1985 to 1996, all its Units gradually went online. The plant also experienced a short circuit that resulted in a power outage in Ukraine. In February 2022, amid the danger of the Russian Invasion, its two units were closed.
Gravelines Nuclear Power Station – France
On the 9th spot, we have NPP situated in Nord, France, having a net capacity of 5,460 MW. The plant accounts for 5.9% of electricity in France. It has six reactors which started production between 1980 and 1985.
Paluel Nuclear Power Plant – France
Situated in Plauel, this French Power Plant is in the 10th spot among the largest nuclear power plants in the world. The plant has a net capacity of 5,320 MW and contains pressurized water reactors of 1330 MWe each. It is one of the largest power plants in France, and by electricity generation, it is the second-largest in the country.
Other Honorable Mentions
The largest nuclear power plants in the United States of America are; Palo Verde (3,942 MW), Browns Ferry (3,300), South Texas (2,560 MW), Oconee (2,538 MW), Susquehanna (2,429 MW), and Comanche Peak (2,367 MW) to name a few. Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station’s average production is 3.3 GW and is the largest power plant in the USA and the 16th largest nuclear power plant globally. This power station is unique due to its location in the Arizona desert, unlike others near water.
The largest nuclear power plants in Russia are; Rostov (3,922 MW), Balakovo (3,800 MW), and Kalinin (3,800 MW). Additionally, Rostov and Balakovo power plants are among the top 20 largest nuclear power plants in the world.
Heysham Nuclear Power Station is the largest nuclear power plant in the United Kingdom (net capacity of 2,400 MW). This plant stands in the 54th spot on the list of the largest power plants in the world. Moreover, the site consists of four advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGR) divided between its two separately-managed stations.
Brazil possesses the largest nuclear power plant in the South American region — Angra Nuclear Power Plant, with a 1,884 MW net capacity. Similarly, Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in South Africa is not only the largest but also the only nuclear power station on the entire African continent.
Karachi Nuclear Power Complex is Pakistan’s largest nuclear power plant (77th global ranking), with a 2,028 MW net capacity. Pakistan is also the first Muslim country to construct and operate a commercial nuclear power plant. Similarly, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is the largest NPP in India (1,834 MW).
The Sum Up
Nuclear Energy is green, sustainable and clean energy with zero-carbon emission. It is better for the environment unlike energy generation from coal and fossil fuels which cause environmental degradation. This is the reason many countries are resorting to nuclear energy as energy source. The USA is the world’s biggest nuclear power-producing country with the highest operational nuclear plants and capacity. Similarly, France and China are in the second and third spots. The world’s largest nuclear power plants are; Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Japan, Kori Power Plant in South Korea, and Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Canada.