Since March 2011, when the Japanese tsunamis caused major nuclear damage to both its population and the environment, a team of scientists has been gathering data with a focus on "potentially dangerous" large tsunami areas that are home to nuclear plants.
The researchers used historical, archaeological, geological and instrumental records as a base for determining tsunami risk. Results show that 23 nuclear power plants with 74 reactors can be identified in high risk areas, one of which is Fukushima I where the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred on March 11, 2011.
Further data shows that 13 plants with 29 reactors are active. Another four with 20 reactors are being expanded with nine more reactors; and seven new nuclear plants are being built to house 16 reactors.
Debarati Guha-Sapir, one of the coauthors of the study and CRED researcher, says that "the impact of natural disaster is getting worse due to the growing interaction with technological installations."
The researchers drew a map of at-risk zones of large tsunamis with nuclear plants. Natural disasters threaten the entire western coast of the American continent, but areas that are at much greater risk due to atomic power stations are South and Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean, areas of Oceania, the Spanish/Portuguese Atlantic Coast and the coast of North Africa.
The United States is considered the world's largest producer of nuclear power, accounting for over 30% of worldwide nuclear generation of electricity. This data consists of 104 nuclear power reactors in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies. Since 2001 these plants have achieved an average capacity factor of over 90%. U.S. electricity generation is projected to increase from 4361 billion kWh gross to 5000 billion kWh gross by 2030 --- 46% of it from coal-fired plant, 23% from gas, 19% nuclear and 6.5% from hydro.