Global nuclear power continues to recover from the Fukushima nuclear accident resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011.
As of May 2013, 435 reactors (374,524 Mwe) are classified as "operable" down from 443 reactors (377,750 Mwe) immediately prior to Fukushima. This decrease reflects the four damaged Japanese reactors as well as light older reactors shut-down in Germany.
Importantly, 66 reactors are currently under construction worldwide, an increase of four reactors prior to the accident. Likewise, the number of commercial reactors classified as "On Order or Planned" total 160, as compared to 158 in March 2011.
In Japan, all nuclear power plants were progressively taken offline as they became due for periodic maintenance and inspection and, only two plants owned by Kansai Electric Power Company, Ohi reactors numbers 3 and 4, have been brought back into service. The Japanese Government announced plans to overhaul the national nuclear regulatory system with the formation of a new, independent Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) as part of a process to reestablish trust and integrity in the safety of the country’s reactors in anticipation of further re-starts, which are essential to overcome the significant electricity shortages experienced during the summer.
Japan's NRA published proposed nuclear safety guidelines in January 2013 with final speculations expected July 2013. At that time, Japanese nuclear utilities will file for reactor-specific safety evaluations, a necessary first step for re-establishing operations. Several reactors are expected to recommence commercial operations by the end of 2013 and 75-80% of nuclear capacity could return to commercial operations by 2015-2016.