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Asia's Nuclear Energy Growth

(February 2007)

 Asia is the only region in the world where electricity generating capacity and
specifically nuclear power is growing significantly.
 In East and South Asia there are over 109 nuclear power reactors in
operation, 18 under construction and plans to build about a further 110.
 The greatest growth in nuclear generation is expected in China, Japan, South
Korea and India.

In contrast with North America and most of Western Europe where growth in electricity
generating capacity and particularly nuclear power levelled out for many years, a number
of countries in East and South Asia are planning and building new power reactors to meet
their increasing demands for electricity.

Through to 2010 projected new generating capacity in this region is some 38 GWe per
year, and from 2010 to 2020 it is 56 GWe/yr, up to one third of this replacing retired
plant. This is about 36% of the world's new capacity (current world capacity is about
3500 GWe, of which 368 GWe is nuclear). Much of this growth will be in China, Japan,
India and Korea. The nuclear share of this to 2020 is expected to be at least 39 GWe and
maybe more if environmental constraints limit fossil fuel expansion.

There are currently 109 nuclear power reactors operating in six countries of the region,
18 units under construction (with several more due to start construction in 2007) and firm
plans in place to build about another 40 units.

In addition, there are about 56 research reactors in fourteen countries of the region. The
only major Pacific Rim countries without any kind of research reactor are Singapore and
New Zealand.


55 units (48 GWe) in operation, 2 under construction, 11 planned (total 17 GWe), also 17
research reactors.

Japan generates 29% of its electricity from nuclear power. By 2015, nuclear contribution
is expected to increase, especially if emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol are met.
Longer term plans are to double nuclear capacity (to 90 GWe) and nuclear share by 2050.

The reactors most recently started up include third generation advanced reactors, with
improved safety systems. The first of these was connected to the grid in 1996.
Japan is committed to reprocessing its used fuel to recover uranium and plutonium for re-
use in electricity production, both as mixed-oxide fuel in conventional reactors, and also
in fast neutron reactors.

In 2003 a number of its reactors were shut down over several months for checking,
following inspection irregularities. The last of these restarted in 2005.

Japan has a high temperature test reactor which has reached 950°C, high enough to
enable thermochemical production of hydrogen. It expects to use some 20 GW of nuclear
heat for hydrogen production by 2050, with the first commercial plant coming on line in

Republic of Korea (South Korea)

20 units in operation (17.5 GWe), 1 under construction, 7 planned, also 2 research


South Korea meets 45% of its electricity needs from nuclear power, and this is

The national plan is to expand to 28 nuclear power reactors, including advanced reactor
designs, and achieve 60% nuclear supply by 2035. Demand for electricity in South Korea
has been increasing strongly.

In collaboration with US companies, Korea developed the 1000 MWe Korea Standard
Nuclear Power Plant which is 95% locally-made, and may be exported to Indonesia and
Vietnam. Based on it are the KNSP+ and the AP1400 models.

South Korea has a US$ 1 billion R&D and demonstration program aiming to produce
commercial hydrogen using nuclear heat about 2020.

North Korea

2 units partially built but subject to political delays, also 1 research reactor.

North Korea was close to commissioning one small power reactor, but concern focussed
on attempts to develop illicit weapons capability caused this to be halted.

The USA and South Korea offered assistance in substituting two reactors which would
not produce weapons-grade plutonium, and agreement for these was signed late in 1995.
They are (South) Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant type and construction of the first
was about one third complete when construction was abandoned.

10 units in operation (7.6 GWe), 5 under construction, 13 planned, 50 proposed; also 13
research reactors.

China is moving ahead rapidly in building new nuclear power plants, many of them
conspicuously on time and on budget.

Chinese electricity demand has been growing at more than 8% per year. The electricity
demand is strongest in the Guangdong province adjacent to Hong Kong where demand
significantly exceeds supply. National plans call for 40 GWe by 2020, requiring an
average of 2000 MWe per year to be added. A longer-term goal is 240 GWe by 2050.

China has built a small advanced high-temperature gas-cooled demonstration reactor

(HTR) with pebble bed fuel, which started up in 2000. A commercial prototype HTR
based on it is expected to start up in 2010.

In partnership with South Korea, R&D on hydrogen production is proceeding.


15 units in operation (2.8 GWe), 8 under construction, 24 planned or proposed also 5

research reactors.

India has achieved independence in its nuclear fuel cycle. Nuclear power currently
supplies less than 4% of electricity in India. The units under construction are due for
completion by 2010. A further 24 units are planned or proposed, to give 20 GWe by 2020.

India is a pioneer in developing the thorium fuel cycle, and has several advanced
facilities related to this.


2 reactors in operation, 1 under construction, 2 planned, also 1 research reactor.

Pakistan generates almost 3% of its electricity by nuclear, its second power reactor started
up in 2000, and the third - supplied by China - is under construction.

The government plans 0.9 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2015, and a further 7.5 GWe
by 2030.


3 research reactors.

Demand for electricity in Indonesia has been growing rapidly, and this promoted
development of several independent power projects.
A 5-year Feasibility Study recommended that the first nuclear power units, totalling 1800
MWe, be commissioned about 2004 and sited 450 km east of Jakarta, at Muria. This
proposal lapsed, but in 2005 the government confirmed in principle approval of four 1000
MWe units here, with a view to commissioning in 2016. There is also proposed a small
power and desalination plant for Madura, using the S. Korean SMART reactor.


1 research reactor, + 1 being built.

Interest by Thailand in nuclear power was revived by a forecast growth in electricity

demand of 7 per cent per year for the next twenty years. About 70% of electricity is from
natural gas. Capacity requirement in 2016 is forecast at 48 GWe.

There are tentative plans to embark on a nuclear power program.


1 research reactor.

In February 2006 the government announced that a 2000 MWe nuclear power plant
would be on line by 2020. A feasibility study for this due to be completed in 2008, with a
view to construction start in 2011 and commissioning in 2017. Vietnam has a nuclear
cooperation agreement with South Korea.

Demand is growing rapidly and is expected to reach about 100 billion kWh/yr in 2010 -
from 40 billion kWh in 2003. More than half of its power comes from hydro, a quarter
from gas. It has one operating research reactor at Da Lat, operated with Russian


1 research reactor.

The Philippines has one power reactor completed but its operation was aborted over
litigation concerning bribery and safety deficiencies. The plant is expected to be
converted to coal or oil burning.


1 research reactor

Bangladesh has had plans to build a 600 MWe reactor and in 2005 signed a nuclear
cooperation agreement with China. It has one operating research reactor.

See also: country papers and Emerging Nuclear Countries paper.

Nuclear Power in Asia, and Involvement with the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Power Power Reactors Power Reactors Other Stages

Reactors in Under Planned or of the Fuel
Operation Construction Proposed Cycle
Australia 1 UM
Bangladesh 1
China 10 5 63 13 UM, C, E, FF
UM, FF, R,
India 16 7 19 5
Indonesia 4 3 FF
C, E, FF, R,
Japan 55 2 12 17+1
S. Korea 20 1 7 2 C, FF
N. Korea 1 1 C?,FF?,R
Malaysia 1
Pakistan 2 1 4 1 UM, E, FF
Philippines 1
Thailand 1+1
Vietnam 2 1
** Total 109 18 112 56*
* 54 operable, 2 under construction

** The total includes 6 reactors in operation, plus two under construction, on Taiwan. It
also has four research reactors. Taiwan has no other stages of the fuel cycle.

Key: UM Uranium Mining, C Conversion, E Enrichment, FF Fuel Fabrication, R

Reprocessing, WM Waste Management facilities for spent fuel away from reactors.

WNA Reactor table, country papers