|Nuclear technology is technology that involves the nuclear reactions of atomic nuclei. Among the notable nuclear technologies are nuclear reactors, nuclear medicine and nuclear weapons. It is also used, among other things, in smoke detectors and gun sights.|
Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions.
Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium.
Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators.
Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research.
This article mostly deals with nuclear fission power for electricity generation.
Civilian nuclear power supplied 2,488 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2017, equivalent to about 10% of global electricity generation, and was the second largest low-carbon power source after hydroelectricity.
As of April 2018, there are 449 civilian fission reactors in the world, with a combined electrical capacity of 394 gigawatt (GW).
There are also 58 nuclear power reactors under construction and 154 reactors planned, with a combined capacity of 63 GW and 157 GW, respectively.
As of January 2019, 337 more reactors were proposed.
Most reactors under construction are generation III reactors in Asia.