How much land does nuclear energy need?


A nuclear power plant itself requires very little land: typically around one square kilometre (equivalent to a square 1km by 1km). Land used by Uranium mining and processing, and support services add somewhat to this. This is similar to the land use of gas-, coal-, and biomass-fired, and geothermal power stations.

Hydro requires much more land for its water reservoir, although the reservoir may also be used for recreation and/or water supply.

Solar likewise can take up effectively no space when installed on rooftops and other built structures, or where it may provide the amenity of shade in hot climates. Installed as floating panels on reservoirs it can help reduce loss of water by evaporation whilst the water keeps the panels cool, improving their efficiency. However grid scale utility solar can, particularly in higher latitudes, demand vast areas of land which could otherwise be used for agriculture or rewilding/forestation.

Biofuel crops also require relatively large amounts of land for the energy they produce.

Wind turbines installed onshore require little land for the turbines themselves, with some more for access roads. The land between turbines can be used for agriculture but preclude afforestation for carbon sequestration.