Top ten nuclear power plants by capacity

26 June 2019 (Last Updated July 28th, 2020 14:31)

Most of the world's biggest nuclear power plants (NPP) by net capacity are in East Asia. Regular inspection and safety measures have been stepped up at the large capacity nuclear power stations following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Power-technology.com lists the world's top ten nuclear power plants by net capacity.

Top ten nuclear power plants by capacity
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is the world’s biggest nuclear power plant. Image courtesy of IAEA.

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, Japan

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Japan is currently the world’s largest nuclear power plant, with a net capacity of 7,965MW.

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa has seven boiling water reactors (BWR) with a gross installed capacity of 8,212MW.

The first five units have a gross capacity of 1,100MW each whereas the sixth and seventh units each have a capacity of 1,356MW.

The first unit began commercial operation in September 1985 and the last unit became commercially operational in July 1997.

Operations at the plant were, however, seized in May 2012 due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. TEPCO has been implementing measures at the plant to meet the new safety guidelines set by Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority. All the reactors of the plant are expected to be restarted by 2021.

Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, Canada

Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada, is the second largest nuclear power plant in the world.

The 6,430MW nuclear facility is owned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and operated by Bruce Power.

The plant is made up of eight pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) with gross capacities varying from 786MW to 891MW. The last reactor of the Canadian NPP became commercially operational in May 1987

Bruce 1 witnessed a long-term shutdown in 1997 and was reopened in September 2012. Bruce 2 was also restarted in October 2012 after a long-term shutdown in 1995. The plant's peak capacity was increased by 22MW to 6,430MW, after the completion of planned outage of Bruce 3 in July 2019.

Hanul Nuclear Power Plant, South Korea

Ulchin Nuclear Power Plant, which was renamed Hanul Nuclear Power Plant in 2013, is the largest South Korean nuclear power plant.

The plant currently has a gross installed capacity of 6,189MW and net design capacity of 5,908MW ranking as the third largest NPP in the world.

Phase one of the Hanul NPP was completed in 2005 with six pressurised water reactor (PWR) units. Two more reactors, namely Shin Hanul- 1 and Shin Hanul- 2, are being added to Hanul as part of the second phase of plant development.

The two new reactors will have a net capacity of 1,350MW each and increase the plant’s total net capacity to 8,608MW when completed in late-2019. The gross capacity of the plant will increase to 8,989MW upon the completion of phase two.

Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, South Korea

South Korea’s Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant, formerly known as the Yeonggwang Nuclear Power Plant, currently ranks as world’s fourth largest nuclear power station, with an installed net capacity of 5,899MW and a gross capacity of 6,164MW.

The power plant, operated by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), consists of six PWR units commissioned in 1986, 1986, 1994, 1995, 2001 and 2002 respectively.

The 1,000MW Unit 3 of the plant was kept offline due to cracks found in its control rod guide tube in November 2012. The unit resumed operation in June 2013 following eight months of repair works.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has an installed net capacity of 5,700MW and a gross capacity of 6,000MW. It is currently the largest nuclear power station in Europe and the fifth largest in the world.

The power station is located in Enerhodar, Ukraine, and features six operational VVER-1000 PWR units brought online from 1984 through 1995.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is owned and operated by Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-run National Nuclear Energy Generating Company. The plant accounts for more than one-fifth of the country’s total electricity generation.

Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant, France

The Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant, which has an installed net capacity of 5,460MW and a gross capacity of 5,706MW, currently ranks as the sixth largest nuclear power facility in the world.

The power station is located at Gravelines in Northern France and consists of six similar capacity PWR units commissioned between 1980 and 1985.

The nuclear power facility, owned and operated by the French electric utility company Electricite De France (EDF), created a benchmark in August 2010 by delivering its 1,000 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Paluel Nuclear Power Plant, France

The Paluel Nuclear Power Plant, located 40km away from Dieppe, France, is currently the seventh largest NPP in the world, by net capacity. The plant is spread across 160ha on the waterfront of the English Channel and uses water from the Channel for the cooling.

The plant is owned and operated by EDF and consists of four PWRs with a gross installed capacity of 5,528MW (1,382MW each) and net design capacity of 5,200MW (1,300MW each).

Construction of the nuclear power station began in 1977. The first two units of the plant were connected to grid in 1984. The third and fourth units were commissioned in 1985. Paluel is the second largest French NPP, after Gravelines.

Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant, France

The 5,448MW (gross) Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant is located in Cattenom, France. The power plant is owned and operated by EDF. The net capacity of the plant is 5,200MW, which is similar to that of Paluel NPP, the seventh largest nuclear power plant in the world.

Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant consists of four PWRs rated at 1,362MW each. Construction of the plant started in 1979 and commercial operations began in April 1987. The fourth reactor of the plant was connected to grid in 1991.

The Cattenom nuclear facility uses water from the Moselle River. Three condensers of the plant were removed and retubed in 2019, which involved the replacement of a total of 64,200 tubes.

Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant, China

The Yangjiang nuclear power plant, located in the Guangdong province, China, has a gross installed capacity of 5,430MW encompassed by five 1086MW PWRs while the sixth reactor is scheduled to be commissioned in the second half of 2019.

Owned by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) and operated by the Yangjiang Nuclear Power Company, the current net capacity of the power station is 5,000MW, which makes it the eighth biggest nuclear power plant in the world.

The first three units of the plant were commissioned in 2014, 2015 and 2016, while the fourth and fifth units were connected to the grid in January 2017 and the fifth in May 2018, respectively.

Shin Kori Nuclear Power Plant, South Korea

The Shin Kori nuclear power plant, located near Ulsan, South Korea, has an installed net capacity of 4,748MW and a gross capacity of 4,974MW. It is the third biggest nuclear power plant in South Korea and the world’s ninth-biggest by net capacity.

Owned and operated by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), the power station is installed with four operational PWR units, including two advanced power reactor-1400s (APR-1400). Two more APR-1400 units have been under construction at the site since April 2017 and September 2018, respectively.

The first two units of 996MW net capacity each were commissioned between 2010 and 2012, while the third and fourth units were brought online in January 2016 and April 2019, respectively.

Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant, China

The Hongyanhe nuclear power plant located in Donggang, near the coastal city of Dalian, Liaoning province, consists of four operational PWR units of with a gross installed capacity of 4,476MW (1,119MW each) and net design capacity of 4,244MW (1,061MW each).

Hongyanhe currently ranks as the second biggest nuclear power facility in China and the tenth biggest in the world. Two more 1,000MW PWR units currently under construction at the site are scheduled to come online in late 2019 and 2021, respectively.

The Hongyanhe plant is owned and operated by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power (LHNP), which is a joint venture of CGNPC (45%), China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC, 45%), and Dalian Construction Investment Group (10%). The four CPR-1000 reactor units at the plant were commissioned between 2013 and 2016.

Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant, Japan

The Fukushima Daini or Fukushima II nuclear power plant located in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, would have ranked as the tenth biggest nuclear power plant in the world if operational. The four reactor units of the Fukushima II were automatically shut down due to the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.

The 4,268MW (net) plant is owned and operated by TEPCO. It consists of four BWR units with a gross capacity of 1,100MW and a net capacity of 1,067MW each.

The powerful tsunami waves triggered by the 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake caused meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi NPP while Fukushima Daini survived the disaster because of the emergency shutdown of its reactors. All four reactors of Fukushima Daini have since been maintained in cold shutdown. In June 2018, TEPCO informed that it was considering the decommissioning of the plant.