Country StatisticsAs of November 2016 nuclear power plants operate

Country StatisticsAs of November 2016 nuclear power plants operate in 30 countries around the world with 450 nuclear reactors, most are in North America, Europe and East/South Asia. Currently France relies the most on nuclear power with 77.5% of Its total energy consumption generated by nuclear power stations. France currently has 58 nuclear reactors which generated 63.2 GWh of electricity. However, while France depends the most on nuclear power it does not produce the most. America currently has 99 nuclear reactors in 30 states in the USA; There are 65 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) with combined capacity of about 64 GWe and 34 boiling water reactors (BWRs) with combined capacity of about 35 GWe, altogether their total capacity is 109 GWe. But this is only 19.7% of the share of domestic generation by America. The rest of the other 30 countries energy outputs are shown below in the diagram sourced from the nuclear energy institute.Nuclear WasteNuclear waste is any material that is no longer able to be used in the process of operating the nuclear reactor. Nuclear waste has 3 different classification levels: low, medium (intermediate) and high. Depending on the level of the waste each one has to be treated, stored and disposed of differently.Low level nuclear waste consists of lightly-contaminated items such as tools, work clothing from power plant operators, protective gear, water used for showers and cleaning water. This form of nuclear waste makes up the bulk of the radioactive waste (roughly 90%) but It can be released out to the environment after being diluted as it’s radioactive content is only about 1%. Some countries still prefer to store their low level nuclear waste in special facilities alongside intermediate level waste.Intermediate level nuclear waste consists of about 7% of the waste created and it has a radioactive content of around 4%. These usually consist of used filters, steel components from within the reactor and some effluents from reprocessing. As well as some fuel containers, gauges and pipes, essentially parts that weren’t actually in the reactor core themselves. Intermediate level waste is treated and conditioned by incorporating it, for example, into cement or bitumen and then shielded in containers. In many countries, disposal sites for low and intermediate level wastes are in operation, with intermediate level waste and low level waste often disposed of in the same facility. Usually, these facilities are at or near the surface.The most problematic and most dangerous form of nuclear waste is the High level waste; this contains 95% of the radioactive content but consists of only 3% of the volume of nuclear waste. This 3% is the essentially the used nuclear fuel; fission products formed (the multitude of transition metals) that have been formed by the fission of uranium-235/8 or plutonium-239. They are extremely radioactive and very hot, hence requiring careful storage by shielding and cooling the fuel.  This is usually done simultaneously as water acts as an effective shield and a good coolant. Most reactors will store all their high level waste in a storage pool unit onsite under a few metres of water, after about 5 years it can be transferred into dry ventilated concrete containers. Eventually the high level fuel will be disposed of deep underground in suitable geological depositories build in geologically stable positions.