Today, nuclear energy is used to some degree to provide electricity to many countries as well as act as the main fuel source for marine propulsion for ships in many navies. In some countries, such as France, nuclear energy is the primary source for electricity generation, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Although nuclear technology was originally developed in the 1940s as a method of creating weaponry during World War II, the first nuclear power station became operational in the 1950s. There are now over 430 commercial nuclear power reactors up and running in 31 countries. There are an additional 70 reactors currently under construction throughout the world. Sixteen countries rely upon nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electrical power, making it a formidable consideration. These account for more than 11% of the electricity in the world. In addition, there are 56 countries that currently operate a collective 240 reactors for research, while 180 nuclear reactors are responsible for powering 150 submarines and ships, according to the World Nuclear Association. Many countries are looking to nuclear power as a way to change reliance on other fuel sources such as oil, gas and coal as a cleaner and more reliable source of energy.