Home Speciality Chemicals Nuclear Power Reactor Decommissioning Market Size, Share and Forecast to 2031

Nuclear Power Reactor Decommissioning Market

Nuclear Power Reactor Decommissioning Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Reactor Type (Pressurized Water Reactor, Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor, Boiling Water Reactor, High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactor, Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor, Other Reactor Types), By Applications (Commercial Power Reactor, Prototype Power Reactor, Research Reactor), By Capacity (Below 100 MW, 100-1000 MW, Above 1000 MW) and By Region(North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa, LATAM) Forecasts, 2023-2031

Report Code: SRSC3652DR
Study Period 2019-2031 CAGR 14.80%
Historical Period 2019-2021 Forecast Period 2023-2031
Base Year 2022 Base Year Market Size USD 4.9 Billion
Forecast Year 2031 Forecast Year Market Size USD 16.97 Billion
Largest Market Europe Fastest Growing Market Asia Pacific
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Market Overview

The global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market size was valued at USD 4.9 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 16.97 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 14.80% during the forecast period (2023-2031).

Nuclear decommissioning is the term used to describe a technical and administrative process in which nuclear facilities are gradually destroyed until they no longer require radiation protection. It entails the removal of radioactive substances, then dismantling contaminated materials from the plants, and the safer shipping of hazardous components with some conventional techniques. Decommissioning nuclear facilities help reduce nuclear energy accidents and radiation dangers. After careful planning, radioactive element characterization, and nuclear facility release, the process is widely applied in commercial nuclear power facilities. It is currently divided into three forms of nuclear decommissioning service: immediate, safe enclosure, and entombment.


Market Dynamics

Global Nuclear Power Reactor Decommissioning Market Drivers:

Nuclear Reactors Reaching Operational Retirement

The average age of the world's fleet of reactors has been increasing due to the severe reduction in the rate of commissioning of new nuclear reactors in advanced nations in recent years, notwithstanding the increased capacity in developing economies. Early in the 1970s, coal, oil, and gas accounted for around 80% of the electricity generated, with hydropower producing the remaining 20%. In affluent nations, the bulk of nuclear power reactors in service was constructed in the 1970s and 1980s to reduce reliance on fossil-based generation. In the 1960s and 1970s, nuclear reactor building skyrocketed. Over 30 GW were installed annually during the peak years of 1974–1975, nearly 3.5% of the total global electricity consumption and roughly twice the percentage of electricity produced by renewable energy sources. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that by the end of 2020, 296 power reactors with a combined capacity of 256.3 GW will have an operational age of more than 30 years or nearly 67% of them. One hundred four reactors, or 20% of the world's current nuclear capacity, have been in operation for more than 40 years; only 1% have been in operation for more than 50 years. The need for their decommissioning is growing due to the large number of reactors that are aging and getting close to their operational retirement age, which is predicted to drive the market for the entire forecast period.

Global Nuclear Power Reactor Decommissioning Market Restraint:

Higher Decommissioning Costs

Building, maintaining, and decommissioning a nuclear reactor can cost billions of dollars. The final phase of the nuclear plant's life cycle, or decommissioning, is more expensive, even though most of the plant's existence is inexpensive. The order and timing of the several stages of the program will determine the overall cost of decommissioning. Due to the declining radioactivity levels, postponing a step usually results in lower expenses, although higher storage and surveillance costs could negate this. 

Therefore, plans for life extensions are attracting the attention of nuclear power plant operators to shift the financial burden of decommissioning over 30 to 60 years. Additionally, the extension plans create income during this time, which restrains the market research during the forecast period.

Global Nuclear Power Reactor Decommissioning Market Opportunities:

Intense Competition from Renewable Energy Sources

Around the world, the growth of renewable energy is exploding. As a result, several locations have fewer FDIs and investments in the nuclear power industry. By the end of 2020, the total installed nuclear power capacity would have expanded by nearly 40 GW since 2000, or 2.1 GW/year, to reach about 392.61 GW. Compared to nuclear power, more than 700 GW of wind power and 700 GW of solar power capacity have been added since 2000. 

Another factor promoting the growth of renewable energy capacity is the potential for simple and distributed technologies to be adopted more quickly than sophisticated and enormous centralized nuclear power stations. Electricity generation from nuclear power is becoming economically unviable due to the growth in renewable energy. This is projected to force sites to be prematurely decommissioned throughout the projection period, which would drive the market under study.


Regional Analysis

Europe Dominates the Global Market

The global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market is bifurcated into four regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA. 

Europe is the most significant revenue contributor and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.09 % during the forecast period. Rising government support, environmental concerns that have forced the closure of nuclear power plants in France, Lithuania, the UK, and Germany, rising demand in Germany, public relations, the existence of strict government regulations to regulate the dismantling process, and an increase in the number of nuclear power plants in South Korea and Japan are all contributing to the region's growing share of the global nuclear decommissioning market. Due to strict government regulations that favor nuclear-decommissioning activities, the area has seen remarkable market growth.

Additionally, Europe seeks to diversify its energy mix by reducing the share of nuclear energy generation in overall electricity production from 75% to 50% by 2025 due to its strict reliance on nuclear energy for electricity production. These factors imply that the nuclear-decommissioning industry will experience significant growth over the coming few years. The region's transition to clean energy has led to the decommissioning of many nuclear reactors, so Europe has the most significant market for nuclear decommissioning. Germany, France, and the UK are the key countries working in the area.

In Asia-Pacific, the nuclear decommissioning market is expected to develop at the fastest rate during the projected period. The existence of numerous fully operational nuclear power plants in South Korea and Japan, which place a high demand on nuclear decommissioning procedures, as well as the growing usage of nuclear decommissioning, the ongoing nuclear-decommissioning activity, and government initiatives for reducing nuclear energy are all contributing to the growth of the region's nuclear decommissioning market. Asia-Pacific has recently become a fierce competitor in the global nuclear decommissioning market. Nuclear-decommissioning processes are more necessary in the area because there are several modern nuclear power plants. Due to an increase in accidents and political pressure to shut down nuclear power reactors before they are complete, the region's nuclear-decommissioning industry is also growing. The recent nuclear decommissioning in the Asia-Pacific area has placed in South Korea and Japan. China and India may offer prospects for the nuclear-decommissioning industry, given that nuclear reactors and power plants will soon reach the end of their useful lifespan.

North America is one of the significant regions regarding the number of operational reactors worldwide. Due to the majority of demand coming from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the nuclear reactor decommissioning industry is anticipated to experience significant expansion. With over 31% of the world's nuclear power output in 2020, the United States is one of the top nuclear power producers. In 2020, the nation's nuclear reactors generated 790 TWh of electricity, a minor decline of 2.3% from 2019. With its subsequent license renewal (SLR) program, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is reviewing proposals for extending operational licenses beyond 60 to 80 years. However, a few plant owners recently decided to retire their nuclear units at ages 45 to 50. In addition, the nation is implementing a new trend called accelerated decommissioning, which enables the nuclear facility to be released from regulatory oversight earlier after the shutdown. Most of the nuclear power plant site, except for any areas used for dry storage of used fuel, is then made available without restriction.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) was one of the first nations in the Middle East to start a nuclear power program. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) was established in 2009. In December of that same year, it and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) agreed to a 20-billion-dollar contract to construct four APR-1400 megawatts (MW) reactors at Barakah in Abu Dhabi. The combined generation capacity of the four units is anticipated to be 5.6 GW. Over the years, Saudi Arabia has planned to construct two sizable nuclear power reactors and mini-desalination reactors. For this purpose, the nation requested information from five vendors in China, Russia, France, South Korea, and the United States. The projected nuclear plant, however, has continued to face delays due to the vast required investment. Saudi Arabia won't have any nuclear power capacity to begin operating commercially during the forecast period, making the nation a non-existent market for nuclear decommissioning.


Report Scope

Report Metric Details
By Reactor Type
  1. Pressurized Water Reactor
  2. Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor
  3. Boiling Water Reactor
  4. High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactor
  5. Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor
  6. Other Reactor Types
By Applications
  1. Commercial Power Reactor
  2. Prototype Power Reactor
  3. Research Reactor
By Capacity
  1. Below 100 MW
  2. 100-1000 MW
  3. Above 1000 MW
Company Profiles Babcock International Group PLC James Fisher and Sons PLC NorthStar Group Services Inc. Fluor Corporation GE Hitachi Nuclear Services Studsvik AB Enercon Services Inc. Orano Group AECOM Bechtel Group Inc. Westinghouse Electric Company
Geographies Covered
North America U.S. Canada
Europe U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
APAC China Korea Japan India Australia Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
LATAM Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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Segmental Analysis

The global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market is segmented by reactor type, application, and capacity.

Based on reactor type, the global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market is bifurcated into pressurized water reactors, pressurized heavy water reactors, boiling water reactors, high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, liquid metal fast breeder reactors, and other reactor types. 

The pressurized water reactor segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 13.2% during the forecast period. A commercial PWR typically has a core inside the reactor vessel that generates heat. Nuclear fuel, a moderator, control rods, and a coolant that is cooled and moderated by high-pressure liquid water are all contained in the core, also known as the reactor pressure vessel (RPV). A pressurizer, control roadways, reactor coolant pumps, steam generators, reactor coolant generators, and other components make up a PWR. The PWR is the world's most widely used nuclear reactor because it offers some benefits over other reactors. Light water, less expensive than different types of coolants like heavy water, is utilized in PWR reactors as both the coolant and the moderator, making PWR reactors low-cost to operate. Less fissile material in the core of the reactor lowers the likelihood of further fission reactions, which keeps the reactors' temperature at the right level and reduces the possibility that they will encounter any unfavorable conditions, making them safer and more manageable.

A CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactor is another name for a pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR). Since the 1950s, Canada has been developing reactors of this type. The vast majority of the 11% of PHWR-equipped reactors in use today are found in Canada. PHWRs often burn naturally occurring uranium oxide. Hence, they require more effective heavy water as the coolant. By enabling the reactor to run without fuel enrichment facilities and improving neutron economy, heavy water allows the reactor to use alternative fuel cycles. The PHWR architecture, as opposed to PWR nuclear facilities, calls for thin-walled pressure tubes. This enables the dispersion of pressure boundaries in many pressure tubes with small diameters. Therefore, compared to PWR designs, this design has a lower likelihood of an unintentional rupture of a pressure barrier. PHWR plants are considered safer than PWR plants.

Based on application, the global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market is bifurcated into commercial power reactors, prototype power reactors, and research reactors. 

The commercial power reactor segment owns the highest market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 12.90% during the forecast period. In 32 nations as of October 2021, 441 commercial nuclear power stations were in operation. The United States produced more nuclear electricity than any other nation and had the most significant nuclear electricity production capacity. The most considerable portion was accounted for by France, which also had the second-highest nuclear electricity-producing ability. Commercial nuclear power stations are shut down and decommissioned for various reasons, including economic, governmental, and societal ones. The primary factors that reduced nuclear energy's cost-competitiveness were its operational life span and the decline in the price of alternative energy generation sources like solar and wind.

Furthermore, it has seen rapid development due to the advancement of renewable energy technology and its growing economic feasibility. Globally, enormous renewable energy infrastructure is being built by nations, which has reduced the need for nuclear reactors. Additionally, nuclear reactors have been shut down as renewable energy sources have taken over nuclear power generation. Therefore, the global nuclear reactor decommissioning industry has significantly benefited from the boom in the development of renewable energy sources.

The research reactor is made up of a variety of commercial and civil nuclear reactors that are often not utilized to produce electricity. Radioisotope production for the medical industry, material testing, and research and development are all carried out in these reactors. A neutron source for research and a few other applications are the main functions of research reactors. Most of these reactors are found in R&D facilities at universities worldwide. Decommissioning is an essential element of the reactor's lifecycle and has an immense danger potential because these reactors are smaller in scale and located closer to populated areas.

Additionally, compared to other types of reactors, research reactors require special decommissioning services because they are typically used for various tasks, including nuclear physics research, isotope production, medical treatment, and agricultural and industrial applications. A typical power reactor can produce up to 3000 MW of power, whereas research reactors can produce up to 100 MW. In a nutshell, the capacities of these reactors are considerably lower than those of reactors used for ship propulsion.

Based on capacity, the global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market is bifurcated into below 100 MW and above 1000 MW. 

The 100-1000 MW segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 13.6% during the forecast period. About 27 tonnes of uranium – around 18 million fuel pellets housed in over 50,000 fuel rods – is required yearly for a 1000 MWe pressurized water reactor. “Coal plants require enormous amounts of coal. Shockingly: a 1000 MWe coal plant uses 9000 tonnes of coal per day, equivalent to an entire train load (90 cars with 100 tonnes in each!). Advanced nuclear reactors are estimated to cost USD 5,366 for every kilowatt capacity. That means a sizeable 1-gigawatt reactor would cost around USD 5.4 billion, excluding financing costs. By contrast, a new wind farm costs just USD 1,980 per kilowatt.

These are expected to cost ~$4/watt for nuclear and steam components. Operating at a 90% capacity factor, our 100 MW nuclear plant would produce around 788,000 MWh of energy, or enough for approximately 99,000 homes. By comparison, with a 30 percent capacity factor, a 100 MW wind farm would generate the equivalent amount of power consumed by about 35,000 homes in the Northeast and 18,000 homes in the South.


Market Size By Reactor Type

Recent Developments

  • September 2022- The IAEA launched a global initiative aimed at boosting the role of new and emerging technologies in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, as the industry seeks to streamline the process with the more than two-hundred nuclear power reactors shut down for decommissioning and several of the world’s 438 operating ones expected to phase out over the coming decades.
  • December 2022- The IAEA delivered the final report of a peer review of Indonesia’s program for decommissioning and storage of radioactive waste and spent fuel.


Top Key Players

Babcock International Group PLC James Fisher and Sons PLC NorthStar Group Services Inc. Fluor Corporation GE Hitachi Nuclear Services Studsvik AB Enercon Services Inc. Orano Group AECOM Bechtel Group Inc. Westinghouse Electric Company Others

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the market size of oral thin films?
The global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market size was valued at USD 4.9 billion in 2022.
Asia Pacific has the highest growth rate in the nuclear power reactor decommissioning market.
Key verticals adopting the nuclear power reactor decommissioning market include: Babcock International Group PLC, James Fisher and Sons PLC, NorthStar Group Services Inc., Fluor Corporation, GE Hitachi Nuclear Services, Studsvik AB, Enercon Services Inc., Orano Group, AECOM, Bechtel Group Inc., Westinghouse Electric Company.
The global nuclear power reactor decommissioning market size was valued at USD 4.9 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 16.97 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 14.80% during the forecast period (2023-2031).
The intense competition from renewable energy sources is one of the upcoming key trends in the nuclear power reactor decommissioning market.

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