Construction of the world’s first nuclear power plant began in 1950 near the village of Obninsk, southwest of Moscow in the former Soviet Union.
It was connected to the power grid on June 27, 1954. The AM-1 reactor had a net power of 5 MW, was of the channel type, graphite was used as the moderator, and water was used as the coolant. The main task of this project was the verification of accepted concepts, which will be able to be used for the mass application of energy reactors. In addition to the production of electricity, the power plant was also used for the production of isotopes, mainly for medical purposes, and for conducting experiments. It was definitively shut down on April 29, 2002. A museum of nuclear energy has been established in its place.
In 1956, the first nuclear power plant with a commercial output of 46 MW was put into operation at Calder Hall (Great Britain).
Years of research, development and construction followed, resulting in more than 430 nuclear reactors currently operating in 30 countries, producing approximately 15% of the world’s electricity.
There are currently more than 130 nuclear reactors in operation in the European Union in 15 countries, which account for 30% of the electricity produced in the EU.
Even the nuclear energy industry has not been spared extraordinary events. The first one that entered the consciousness of the world public negatively was the accident at the Three Mile Island power plant (USA) in 1979. Another serious event followed in 1986 at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (USSR) and the last in a row is the disaster at four units of the Fukushima 1 power plant in 2011 (Japan) caused by an earthquake and tsunami.
As a result of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, the need for global cooperation in the field of nuclear power plant safety arose. And so on May 15, 1989, the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) was officially founded, whose main goal is to improve nuclear safety on a global scale.
Currently, nuclear energy has more than half a century of history behind it. It brought mankind wide development opportunities thanks to a relatively cheap, powerful and reliable source of electrical energy. From the beginning of its existence until now, it has had its supporters and detractors. After the initial, almost mass development, a partial depression followed. This depression was mainly caused by the negative attitude of the public after the Chernobyl accident. In the last decade, the renaissance of nuclear energy began, but the damaged units in Fukushima, Japan, once again gave an excuse to spread anti-nuclear sentiments.
Also in connection with this moment, the emphasis on the safety of nuclear power plants increased even more. Currently, nuclear power plants with generation III reactors are starting to operate in the world. They are a substantial and important step towards greater safety and better parameters in the use of nuclear energy.