Several stringent regulations were introduced, as a result of decommissioning of several low-performance nuclear reactors. After the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, governments, across the globe, started reviewing their nuclear power plant status, and they have also reduced the time span for regular reactor inspections. Globally, around 76 nuclear reactors are expected to retire between 2015 and 2019, followed by 183 units in the 2020s and 127 units in the 2030s.
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As of September 2017, over 110 commercial power reactors, 48 prototype reactors, over 250 research reactors, and numerous fuel cycle facilities have been taken out of operation, and the number is expected to increase further during the forecast period, 2018 – 2023.
Europe Expected to be one of the Leading Players in Nuclear Decommissioning
Several countries in the European Union (EU) are actively considering retracting nuclear power, due to the benefits of integrating renewable energy generators. After the Fukushima incident, countries, such as Germany and France, have taken drastic measures to phase-out their nuclear power programs. As of 2017, nuclear energy accounted for approximately 75% of the power generation in France. According to World Nuclear Association, about 17% of France’s electricity is from recycled nuclear fuel. On the flip side, the nuclear power plants in France, which were initially built for 40 years of lifespan, are aging. France plans to close up to 17 nuclear reactors by 2025, which is in line with the nation’s aim to reduce the dependency on nuclear power by 50%. This is expected to increase the demand for nuclear-decommissioning services in France significantly. Similar growing focus on the usage of renewables and planned phase-out of nuclear energy, by various countries in the European Union, is expected to drive the nuclear decommissioning market in the European region, during the forecast period.
Increasing Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants Witnessed in the United States
The United States has 99 nuclear reactors, more than any other country, with 102 gigawatts of electricity generation capacity, which can power about 70 million homes. However, nuclear energy development in the United States has become almost entirely dormant in the past decade, due to the high upfront costs, at least partly created by stringent regulations and licensing requirements as well as competition from other energy sources. The US government is increasingly shifting away from nuclear energy and focusing on other alternative energy sources, primarily natural gas for their power generation needs. As of 2017, a total of 10 commercial nuclear reactors were successfully decommissioned in the United States, and another 20 reactors are currently in different stages of the decommissioning process, which is expected to increase the demand for nuclear-decommissioning services in the country significantly.
South Korea – New Market of Opportunity
South Korea began its nuclear decommissioning program in 2017. Decommissioning of country’s oldest reactor is undergoing a lengthy and costly process of being dismantled. It has only 17 technologies for nuclear decommissioning, and has not acquired 21 technologies related to decommissioning preparation, dismantling, decontamination, waste disposal, and environmental recovery. The country is looking to ramp up its efforts to develop technologies associated with decommissioning. South Korea is one of the new markets for nuclear decommissioning, and this creates an opportunity for foreign players to provide the necessary expertise the country needs, to phase out its nuclear energy associations.
Key Developments in the Market
- January 2018: GNS-Westinghouse consortium won German Nuclear decommissioning contract.
- January 2018: Tepco completed interior survey of damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.
- January 2018: Toshiba agreed to the sale of its Westinghouse claims.
- November 2017: ROSATOM and Brazilian state-owned companies signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the nuclear energy sector.
MAJOR PLAYERS: BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL GROUP PLC, WS ATKINS PLC, JAMES FISHER & SONS PLC, AECOM, AREVA SA (NOW ORANO), NORTHSTAR GROUP SERVICES Inc., BECHTEL GROUP Inc., amongst others
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- Identify the drivers, restraints, and government rules and regulation supporting the demand for nuclear decommissioning services market
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- Babcock International Group PLC,
- WS Atkins plc,
- James Fisher & Sons PLC,
- Areva SA (now Orano),
- NorthStar Group Services, Inc,
- Bechtel Group, Inc,
- Westinghouse Electric Company LLC,
- Studsvik AB,
- GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
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