(Reuters) - The government has given the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Nuclear operators say they could have new plants running by 2017, helping Britain meet its 2020 goals for combating climate change.
To date, 439 nuclear power plants are in operation and 34 are under construction, according to figures from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Following are key facts about nuclear power reactors in Europe and around the world and plans for new plants to be constructed.
NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN EUROPE AND WORLDWIDE
* Nuclear power supplies 16 percent of the world’s electricity and 34 percent of the European Union’s.
* 15 of the EU’s 27 members have nuclear power plants. France has the most plants in Europe, generating 73 percent of its electricity.
* The U.S. has the most power plants overall with 104 facilities in operation.
34 POWER PLANTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
* One in Argentina, the Atucha plant near the capital Buenos Aires.
* Two in Bulgaria, both near the northern town of Belene.
* Five in China, including two in Taiwan.
* One in Finland at Olkiluoto, will be the world’s largest single unit when it is finished. Scheduled to be on line by 2011, it is being built by French nuclear group Areva and Germany’s Siemens.
* France has one plant being built at Flamanville in Normandy, scheduled to be on line in 2012.
* Six plants in India are being built to add to the country’s existing 17 operational facilities. India plans to build a further seven.
* Iran is trying to build one plant at Bushehr on the Gulf coast in the south. It is the subject of close inspection by the IAEA and the basis of diplomatic tensions between Iran and the West.
* Japan has one power plant under construction which is being built by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. It has been delayed until 2015/16, a year later than planned to comply with tougher safety plans.
* Three are being built in South Korea.
* Pakistan has one plant under construction at Kundian in the Punjab province. This will bring Pakistan’s tally of operational units to three when it is online.
* Russia is building seven nuclear power plants to add to its 31 operational facilities and is helping China with its projects.
* Two are being built in northwest Ukraine.
* The United States is building one nuclear power plant in Tennessee.
NUCLEAR POWER IN EUROPE
* Attitudes to nuclear power vary across the bloc with Germany and Sweden committing to phase out nuclear power and new EU members Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia planning new reactors.
* Finland’s 1,600 megawatt Olkiluoto 3 reactor is seen as a test case for Europe’s nuclear future -- it was originally scheduled to open in 2009 but has been delayed until 2011 due to slower-than-expected construction work.
* When complete, Olkiluoto, which will cost 3 billion euros (2.2 billion pounds), will be the world’s largest single unit and Western Europe’s first new reactor for over a decade.
* France’s latest addition at Flamanville will be the third reactor on the same site and will bring the country’s fleet up to 60. Last month President Sarkozy offered to help Egypt develop its civilian nuclear technology.
Sources: the International Atomic Energy Agency, World Nuclear Association and Statistics Finland.
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