In 2015 eight reactors started up in China (Changjiang 1, Fangchenggang 1, Fangjiashan 2, Fuqing 2, Hongyanhe 3, Ningde 3, Yangjiang 2 & 3), and Shin-Wolsong 2 in South Korea.

The total number of new projects under construction, globally, in 2015 (excluding those already in build phase) was seven, all pressurised water reactors (PWRs). They included China’s latest generation reactor designs. Construction of China’s first HPR- 1000 or Hualong reactor began at Fuqing 5 on 7th May and two further units are now being built at Fuqing 6 and Fangchenggag 3. Another advanced Chinese reactor design, the ACPR-1000, is also being used for projects at Hongyanhe 5 & 6 and Tianwan 5.


India currently has 21 operating nuclear power units at seven NPPs totalling 5,302MWe (net). These include two small (150MWe) boiling water reactors (BWRs) built by US GE, two small Canadian-designed Candu pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs), 16 small Indian- designed PHWRs (all 220MWe except two at 500MWe), and one Russian designed 1000MWe VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors (PWR).

Six more units are under construction, including four Indian 700MWe PHWRs, one 500MWe Indian-designed fast breeder reactors (FBR), and one Russian VVER-1000. These are all owned and operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and except the FBR, which is owned by Bhavini. The second VVER unit, at Kudankulam NPP, achieved criticality in July and is expected to begin operation in November.

While Russia has agreements to build at least four more units at Kudankulam, with others planned, other suppliers have been hesitant to enter the Indian market because of its 2010 Nuclear Liability Act which holds suppliers responsible in the event of an accident. However an insurance plan and India’s ratification in February of the IAEA Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage has provided some reassurance. Plans are in place for the construction of six French evolutionary pressurised reactors (EPRS) and six Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. India also has the full range of fuel cycle facilities, including fuel fabrication and reprocessing.


Japan’s first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1966, and nuclear energy became a priority after the 1973 oil crisis. Before the March 2011 Fukushima accident Japan had 53 operating reactors totalling 46,236MWe, with two (2,285MWe) under construction and 13 (17,915MWe) planned or proposed.

Following the accident, all the reactors were closed down, some of them permanently.

Currently 42 reactors are operable and potentially able to restart, pending approval by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Some 24 units are now in the process of restart approvals and the first two restarted in August and October 2015 at Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Sendai NPP. Two units at Kansai Electric’s Takahama NPP were also cleared for restart but were forced to close again following court action by local residents citing safety concerns.


South Korea depends on nuclear energy for over 30% of its electricity. It currently has 25 nuclear power units in operation at four NPPs (Wolsong, Kori, Hanbit and Hanul) with a total capacity of around 23GWe. These include 21 PWRs and four Candu pressurised heavy water reactors. Plans are in place to increase total capacity by 70% to 38GWe by 2029. Three more units are already under construction with permits issued for another two in June. A further six are planned including two at a new NPP site (Cheon-ji).

After drawing on Westinghouse and Framatome (now Areva) technology for its first eight PWR units, and Combustion Engineering (subsequently part of Westinghouse) for two more, Korea adapted the design as the Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant (KSNP) which 18/07/2016 then evolved further to KSNP+. In 2005 the KSNP/KSNP+ was rebranded as OPR-1000 (Optimised Power Reactor) with an eye on export possibilities in Asia. Ten operating units are now designated OPR-1000. Beyond this, a further adaptation – the Generation III APR-1400 – draws on CE System 80+ innovations, which are evolutionary rather than radical.

Korea is currently constrained from developing its fuel cycle facilities because of treaty commitments with the US which prevents it from reprocessing.


Taiwan has six nuclear power reactors in operation at three NPPs (Chinshan, Kuosheng and Maanshan), which provide around 25% of base-load power. Two advanced reactors have also been under construction at Lungmen NPP since 1999, but this project is now suspended in face of public opposition. The Democratic Progressive Party elected in January 2016 has a policy of phasing out nuclear power by 2025, and writing off Lungmen.

The six operating units comprise four GE BWRs and two Westinghouse PWRs.

In January 2016 Taipower published a decommissioning plan for Chinshan whose 40- year licences expire in December 2018 and July 2019. Decommissioning is to be over 25 years, in four stages: shutdown and defueling to end of 2026; dismantling to 2038; testing to 2041; and site restoration to 2044. The used fuel pool will be removed during 2027-31. ¦