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  • Published In : May 2024
  • Code : CMI5063
  • Pages :135
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Energy

Market Size and Trends

The global nuclear power market is estimated to be valued at USD 35.27 Bn in 2024 and is expected to reach USD 46.10 Bn by 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9% from 2024 to 2031.

Nuclear Power Market Key Factors

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Nuclear power is experiencing a resurgence of interest globally as it is seen as a low carbon source of baseload electricity generation. After a slowdown in the last decade due to stringent regulations following the Fukushima disaster, the nuclear power industry has started gaining momentum again. Countries around the world are investing in new nuclear reactors as they aim to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and meet their commitment towards reduced carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement. However, high capital costs and construction delays continue to remain as challenges for widespread expansion of nuclear power globally.

 Growing Energy Demands

The world's demand for energy is continually increasing as populations increase and economies develop further. According to the International Energy Agency, the global energy demand is projected to grow over 25% between 2018 and 2040. Much of this increased demand will come from developing nations in Asia Pacific and Africa where living standards and energy consumption are rising rapidly. Nuclear power can play a vital role in meeting this escalating demand for clean, low-carbon energy by providing abundant baseload power. A single nuclear power plant can power over 1 million homes and displace enormous amounts of carbon emissions from fossil fuel power sources. As countries develop advanced nuclear technologies like small modular reactors, they will provide lower-cost options to satisfy electricity needs. Nuclear energy offers a densely efficient way to generate massive amounts of power without depending on unpredictable renewable sources. Maintaining global energy security will depend on developing diverse sources like nuclear that can reliably power economies around the clock.

Market Concentration and Competitive Landscape

Nuclear Power Market Concentration By Players

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Environmental Concerns and Climate Change Goals

Around the world, more countries are prioritizing climate change mitigation and setting ambitious renewable energy targets. Nuclear power produces zero direct carbon emissions and can be an important tool for lowering the carbon footprint of power sectors. The scientific consensus is clear that ust rapidly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Many analyses show that deep decarbonization goals will be extremely difficult to achieve without continued use and expansion of nuclear energy. Advanced economies in Europe and North America have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, which will require electrifying services like transportation, heating, and industries currently powered by fossil fuels. The massive amounts of low-carbon electricity needed can be generated through scaling up nuclear alongside renewable sources. Younger generations are also increasingly environmentally conscious and recognizing nuclear's benefits for slowing climate change. More policymakers and the public may grow to accept nuclear power as critical for transitioning to sustainable energy systems that protect the planet for future generations.

Nuclear Power Market Key Takeaways From Lead Analyst

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Challenges: High capital cost for new plants

The high capital costs associated with setting up new nuclear power plants are a major factor restraining the growth of the global nuclear power market. Building a new nuclear power plant requires massive investments running into billions of dollars. According to data from the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2022, the construction costs for plants commissioned in the recent decade have surged significantly compared to the previous decades. For instance, the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station currently under construction in the U.K. is expected to cost around USD 27 billion. Similarly, the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors under construction in the U.S. are estimated to cost over USD 27 billion. Such high capital expenditure poses major budgetary challenges for utility companies and governments. The long construction periods of 5-10 years also means blocking huge amounts of capital for prolonged durations. Given the high risks and uncertainties involved in nuclear projects, many investors are reluctant to provide funds. The huge funds required also raise the price of electricity generated, impacting the affordability and competitiveness of nuclear power. The budgetary constraints and difficult investment environment have led to the cancellation of many planned projects in recent years. For example, projects worth over 180 GW of capacity have been cancelled or suspended in different countries like Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. since 2010, according to data from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Opportunities: Small modular reactors

Small modular reactors (SMRs) present a compelling opportunity for growth in the global nuclear power market. SMRs offer several advantages over traditional large-scale nuclear plants that could help surmount many of the economic and social barriers impeding expansion of nuclear energy around the world.  SMRs are significantly smaller in size and power capacity compared to conventional nuclear reactors. Individual SMR units typically range from 50-300 MW electric each—small enough to be factory-fabricated and transported fully assembled to sites where power is needed. Their modular design allows for staggered construction, where additional units can be added as power demand grows. This “scalable” approach helps reduce upfront capital investment risks for utilities. SMRs also have enhanced safety features such as passive cooling systems and their small footprint allows various siting options including at decommissioned coal plants. Current trends around the world indicate growing interest in SMRs. According to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2021, over 70 SMR designs are in development globally with 15 countries having national programs. Recent public funding commitments and agreements also point towards increased SMR deployment in the coming years.  Similarly, Canada and Poland have signed an agreement for the export of Ontario-based GE Hitachi's BWRX-300 in early 2023.

Nuclear Power Market By Reactor Type

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Insights By Reactor Type: Widespread use and proven operational safety records

In terms of reactor type, pressurized water reactor and pressurized heavy water reactor is expected to contributes 37.8% share of the market owing to their widespread use and proven operational safety records in 2024. Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) are currently the most widely used reactor type globally owing to their versatile design and higher thermal efficiency compared to other reactor types. Over 90 PWR reactors are currently in operation worldwide, generating close to 300 GW of electricity. Their simple design with separate primary and secondary cooling loops makes them easy to operate and maintain. The reactor core is surrounded by pressurized water which transfers the heat to the steam generators located outside the reactor vessel. This offers stronger safety features by isolating radioactive material from the power generation system. Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) are predominantly used in Canada and India due to the availability of natural uranium as fuel. Over 20 PHWR reactors are currently operational with another 10 under construction. These reactors use heavy water (deuterium oxide) as both coolant and moderator. The use of heavy water allows PHWRs to use natural unenriched uranium as fuel and attain high breeding ratios for production of nuclear fuel. Their single self-pressurized heavy water system acts both as coolant and moderator, making the design compact. Moreover, proven 50 years of safe operation of PHWRs in Canada has demonstrated their excellent process control and safety characteristics.

Insights By Application: Increasing global electricity demand and focus on reducing carbon emissions

In terms of application, the energy segment is expected to contribute 37.8% of the market share due to steadily increasing global electricity demand and focus on reducing carbon emissions in 2024. Nuclear energy currently produces about 25% of the world's electricity without greenhouse gas emissions. Over 450 commercial nuclear reactors worldwide generate electricity to power homes and industries. Many countries are expanding their nuclear fleet as a sustainable and reliable alternative to fossil fuels to meet rising power needs of industrialization and combat climate change. For example, China, India, Russia, and South Korea are actively building new nuclear power plants to electrify their economies and switch from polluting fuels to lower carbon sources. Overall, nuclear energy remains dominant in the energy mix and its use is likely to accelerate further in coming decades to achieve international climate goals.

Regional Insights

Nuclear Power Market Regional Insights

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North America has established itself as the dominant region in the global nuclear power market over the years. The U.S., being a pioneer in nuclear technology since 1950s, has the largest number of nuclear reactors operational. It is expected to account for over 35.7% of the worldwide nuclear electricity generation in 2024. The strong indigenous nuclear industry presence along with government support for research and development has helped the U.S. to significantly drive the adoption of nuclear energy. Other countries in the region are also nuclear powered and potential markets.

However, the Asia Pacific region is emerging as the fastest growing nuclear power market globally. China, India, and South Korea are at the forefront and have witnessed tremendous capacity additions over the past decade. These nations recognize nuclear energy as a strategic and integral part of their long-term energy mix considering the economic growth and rising power needs. This has prompted giant infrastructure investments aimed at the construction of new nuclear facilities. Their focus on self-reliance through domestic production of reactors and fuel cycle facilities has given significant momentum to the regional market. Other Southeast Asian countries are also exploring nuclear as base-load power source which will continue to propel future opportunities.

Market Report Scope

Nuclear Power Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2023 Market Size in 2024: US$ 35.27 Bn
Historical Data for: 2019 To 2023 Forecast Period: 2024 To 2031
Forecast Period 2024 to 2031 CAGR: 3.9% 2031 Value Projection: US$ 46.10 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa: GCC Countries, Israel, and Rest of Middle East & Africa
Segments covered:
  • By Reactor Type: Pressurized Water Reactor and Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor , Boiling Water Reactor , High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactor , Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor , and Other Reactor Types
  • By Application : Energy , Defence , and Others 
Companies covered:

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc., Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, STP Nuclear Operating Company, SKODA JS AS, China National Nuclear Corporation, Bilfinger SE, BWX Technologies Inc., Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Bechtel Group Inc., Japan Atomic Power Co., Rosatom Corp., KEPCO Engineering & Construction, Areva, Framatome , Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, and SENPEC

Growth Drivers:
  • Growing Energy Demands
  • Environmental Concerns and Climate Change Goals 
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High Capital Cost for New Plants
  • Safety and Security Concerns

Key Developments

  • In February 2024, PM Modi To Unveil Two 700 MW Indigenous Reactors At Kakrapar On 22 February
  • In 2022, China’s state-owned nuclear power developer to build plant in Argentina using third-generation Hualong One design
  • In 2022, China inks USD 8 bln nuclear power plant deal in Argentina
  • In December 2021, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announced that it has been selected by Ontario Power Generation as the technology partner for the Darlington New Nuclear Project to be undertaken east of Toronto. GE Hitachi will work with Ontario Power Generation to develop a BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Darlington site that could be completed as early as 2028

*Definition: The global nuclear power market encompasses all commercial nuclear power generation and nuclear fuel facilities around the world. It includes companies involved in uranium mining and milling, conversion, enrichment, nuclear fuel fabrication, and commercial nuclear power generation using fission reactors. The market also covers trade in nuclear power equipment, technologies, and supporting services required for siting, building, operating, and maintaining nuclear power plants.

Market Segmentation

  •  Reactor Type Insights (Revenue, USD Bn, 2019 - 2031)
    • Pressurized Water Reactor and Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor
    • Boiling Water Reactor
    • High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactor
    • Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor
    • Other Reactor Types
  •  Application Insights (Revenue, USD Bn, 2019 - 2031)
    • Energy
    • Defence
    • Others
  • Regional Insights (Revenue, USD Bn, 2019 - 2031)
    • North America
      • U.S.
      • Canada
    • Latin America
      • Brazil
      • Argentina
      • Mexico
      • Rest of Latin America
    • Europe
      • Germany
      • U.K.
      • Spain
      • France
      • Italy
      • Russia
      • Rest of Europe
    • Asia Pacific
      • China
      • India
      • Japan
      • Australia
      • South Korea
      • ASEAN
      • Rest of Asia Pacific
    • Middle East & Africa
      • GCC Countries
      • Israel
      • Rest of Middle East & Africa
  • Key Players Insights
    • GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc.
    • Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    • STP Nuclear Operating Company
    • SKODA JS AS
    • China National Nuclear Corporation
    • Bilfinger SE
    • BWX Technologies Inc.
    • Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd
    • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd
    • Bechtel Group Inc.
    • Japan Atomic Power Co.
    • Rosatom Corp.
    • KEPCO Engineering & Construction
    • Areva
    • Framatome 
    • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited
    • SENPEC

Frequently Asked Questions

The CAGR of the global nuclear power market is projected to be 3.9% from 2024 to 2031.

Growing energy demands and environmental concerns and climate change goals are the major factors driving the growth of the global nuclear power market.

High capital cost for new plants and safety and security concerns are the major factor hampering the growth of the global nuclear power market.

In terms of reactor type, pressurized water reactor and pressurized heavy water reactor is estimated to dominate the market revenue share in 2024.

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc., Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, STP Nuclear Operating Company, SKODA JS AS, China National Nuclear Corporation, Bilfinger SE, BWX Technologies Inc., Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Bechtel Group Inc., Japan Atomic Power Co., Rosatom Corp., KEPCO Engineering & Construction, Areva, Framatome, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, and SENPEC are the major players.

North America is expected to lead the global nuclear power market.

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