The Global View

How much uranium is left?

As a natural resource on a finite planet, uranium is no more unlimited in supply than oil, coal or natural gas. Compared to the vast quantities of those last three fuels we use each year, though, global uranium consumption is relatively small … about 68,000 tons per year, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Based on present known resources, we have enough uranium available to keep reactors productive for about 80 years, the association says.

Following are some more facts and figures related to the world’s nuclear-energy picture:

  • Proportion of world’s electricity supplied by nuclear power: 13 percent (Source: International Energy Agency (IEA) 2011 World Energy Outlook)
  • Number of countries using nuclear power: 29 (Source: World Nuclear Association)
    Total number of nuclear reactors around the world as of Feb. 2012: 434 (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Total generating capacity of world’s nuclear plants: 373 gigawatts (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Country with the largest share of electricity coming from nuclear power: France, with 74.1 percent (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Country producing the greatest amount of uranium in 2010: Kazakhstan, 17,803 tonnes (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Country with the greatest recoverable resources of uranium: Australia, with 1.67 million tonnes (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Average age of world’s nuclear power plants: 26 years (Source: IEA 2011 World Energy Outlook)
  • Number of new reactors under construction: 61 (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Number of new reactors proposed to be built as of Feb. 2012: 335 (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Total generating capacity of all new reactors proposed to be built as of Feb. 2012: 380 megawatts (Source: World Nuclear Association)
  • Percentage of the world’s new reactors under construction being built in China: 63 percent (Source: IEA 2011 World Energy Outlook)
  • Percentage of the world’s new under construction being built in Russia: 13 percent (Source: IEA 2011 World Energy Outlook)
  • Uranium required for global nuclear power in 2012: 67,990 tonnes (Source: World Nuclear Association)