The European nuclear reactor decommissioning market is expected to register approximately a CAGR of more than 10% during the forecast period 2020 - 2025. Factors, such as the increasing number of nuclear reactors reaching operational retirement, declining prices of renewable power generation sources (i.e., wind and solar), which, in turn, are rendering nuclear power less economical, and growing sensitivity toward environmental issues, are expected to drive the market in the coming years. However, the increasing adoption of alternate energy sources, such as gas-based power and solar power is likely to hinder the market growth during the forecast period.
- The decommissioning activity of research reactors is expected to be the largest market during the forecast period, owing to the reduced requirement of the same, as there is a decreasing trend in research and development activity in the nuclear industry.
- At least two reactor sites are expected to be suspended in Germany by 2020, similarly, during 2020 - 2025, around four reactor sites are likely to be shut down in the United Kingdom, and six in Germany. Therefore, these countries are expected to create enormous opportunities for nuclear-decommissioning market players.
- France, Germany, Sweden, and Russia are the regional hotspots for the nuclear power reactor decommissioning market.
Key Market Trends
Research Reactors to Dominate the Market
- The decommissioning of research reactors is in a growing phase, owing to the reduced requirement of research reactors. The shifting of focus from nuclear power has led to a reduction in research activities associated with nuclear technology.
- The decommissioning activities of several research reactors have been initiated on account of the higher costs associated with regulatory compliances over a period of time. Moreover, sometimes the cost of maintaining research reactors can be more than the decommissioning cost, and hence, the market for such reactors is likely to grow during the forecast period.
- In Germany, as of January 2020, 11 of 19 nuclear power reactors have been ordered by the federal government to be shut down immediately, out of which maximum are research reactors. Thus, Germany is expected to increase the demand for nuclear power reactor decommissioning market during the forecast period.
- Moreover, the policy to curtail nuclear power generation in European countries would decimate the requirement of research reactors, which is expected to drive the decommissioning market in near future.
France to Drive the Market Demand
- France is heavily dependent on nuclear power for its electricity generation, and the country has about 58 nuclear power reactors, whose infrastructure’s overall average age is 30 years.
- The country is aiming to diversify its energy mix by lowering nuclear energy generation from 75% to 50% of the total electricity generation by 2025. As a result, the nuclear decommissioning market is poised to grow in the country.
- Moreover, the French government is aiming at nuclear decommissioning in its Multiannual Energy Programme, which aims to reduce the contribution of nuclear power in the French energy mix by 25% by 2035. As a part of the program, 14 power reactors will be shut down by 2035.
- Last year in 2018, 13 experimental power reactors were being decommissioned in France, nine being first-generation gas-cooled, graphite-moderate types and six being similar to UK Magnox type. They have been shut down since 1990 or before and dismantling is in progress.
- Decommissioning is projected to become an increasingly important part of the nuclear sector activity in the coming decades, as many reactors are expected to reach their technical lifetime very soon, which causes an increasing demand for decommissioning and dismantling services.
The European nuclear reactor decommissioning market is moderately consolidated. Some of the key players are Cavendish Nuclear Ltd, Fluor Corporation, GE Hitachi Nuclear Services, James Fisher and Sons PLC, and Electricite de France SA.
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