The nuclear energy technology (NET) market re-emerging, and in fact has been aptly named by some as the Nuclear Technology Renaissance. Interest is being fueled by a number of supporting factors, such as a general improvement of public perception regarding nuclear technologies, and a global need for more reliable, less costly energy sources. The number and technological development of nuclear power plants is increasing worldwide. Under the NET umbrella, some of the more common nuclear reactor types used today for electricity generation include pressurized water reactors (PWRs), boiling water reactors (BWRs), fast breeder reactors (FBRs), heavy water reactors (HWRs) and light water reactors (LWRs).
In 2010 the world market for NET neared $200 billion, up significantly from the year before. Steady growth is expected to continue at least through the year 2020. The NET market segments including PWRs and BWRs currently account for close to half of all nuclear reactors; this share is expected to see a slight decrease by 2020 as other technologies are improved and as new technologies come to fruition. The United States staked a near 28% claim of total NET market share in 2010; however, the nation is expected to lose some of its dominance to a handful of other countries by 2020, which are either increasing their nuclear capabilities or undertaking nuclear endeavors for the first time.
Many factors, including aging electricity infrastructures, increases in terrorist activities, higher fossil fuel costs and increases in electricity demand have left many nations with a desire to increase their levels of energy security. Electricity produced from nuclear power plants offer a secure and reliable source of electricity as they operate independently, do not rely on fossil fuels, provide a constant stream of electricity and are cost-effective - once installed. New technologies are also emerging for small modular nuclear reactors, which may be ideal for military bases - offering increased security for military personnel.
In the past, deriving electricity from nuclear power plants has been highly controversial, due in part to the large amounts of nuclear waste produced. Many environmental organizations such as Greenpeace have been strongly against any nuclear undertakings. New technological innovations, such as those to prolong the life of uranium or to recycle the radioactive element, have significantly helped to reduce the amount of waste produced through nuclear electricity generation. Over the past two decades, public perception has been slowly shifting, although has only recently noticeably bent in favor of nuclear technology development.
Growth in the NET market has been significantly hampered by the highly volatile and controversial aspects associated with nuclear warfare. This has been an especially large hurdle for some countries that have not cooperated with international agreements or have not readily divulged information regarding their nuclear operations. Many countries are now promising to abstain from nuclear weapons development, while others are forming alliances for the exchange of nuclear technologies - sometimes under intense international disapproval. Countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and North Africa, which previously did not have access to nuclear technologies, are planning to install nuclear reactors and many countries already taking advantage of nuclear technologies will be increasing their nuclear capacities.
The World's Nuclear Energy Technology Renaissance: A Market Analysis contains comprehensive historical data (2006-2010) and forecast data (2011-2020). This report identifies key trends and factors (such as the regulatory scene, new technologies, employment opportunities and economic drivers and challenges), which affect the size and direction of NET market growth around the world. Profiles of 20 major - or simply interesting - companies involved in the NET market are also included.
The information contained in The World's Nuclear Energy Technology Renaissance: A Market Analysis has been gathered from trade associations; business, science and law journals; company literature and websites; interviews with more than ten key individuals, research services and institutes around the world; and is based on data from government agencies, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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The World's Nuclear Energy Technology Renaissance: A Market Analysis details significant trends, technologies and market numbers for a clear overview of the complex NET market.
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In the News
Nuclear Energy Technology to Shift by 5.2%
New York, March 23, 2011 —Investors in nuclear energy who stay in the game will profit by others’ decisions to lay low, according to energy market research publisher SBI Energy. Some countries have planned slow-down measures in nuclear energy use, while others plan to forge ahead. SBI Energy forecasts a more competitive nuclear landscape as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, damaging reactors and spurring countrywide evacuation.
In the aftermath of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, SBI Energy estimates the future growth of the nuclear energy technology (NET) market will be dampened, totaling at least 17.2% less than originally projected in 2020. Small modular reactors may garner even more attention, as they prove to be disaster friendly. However, despite the plant failure at Fukushima, nuclear will continue to be relied on as an energy resource throughout the world.
Boiling Water Reactors (BWR) will survive as the leading reactor type used in nuclear facilities. Newer BWRs, technically called Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR), feature far more evolved safety technologies and other features built into the design.
Projected Global Growth of BWR Reactors in Billion Dollars (2010 — 2020)
Source: Industry sources, complied and estimated by SBI Energy.
“The dip shown in the graph over 2013-2015 is due to a large number of BWR closures in comparison to BWR start-ups,” explains Nana Lapham, nuclear analyst for SBI Energy.
Before the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, Japan was the third largest producer of nuclear power. Although the country may retain its third place positioning, it will likely be holding on to a smaller slice of the total NET pie. Originally the country was projected to claim 11.7% of the entire market in 2020. In light of recent events, this number is likely to be reduced to about 9.4%.In the News
Japan's Loss of Nuclear Capacity to Spur Asia/Pacific Investment in Oil, LNG
New York, March 21, 2011 —Long-term substitution of Japanese nuclear generation with natural gas and oil-fired generation will fuel investment in Asian oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets, according to market analysts at research publisher SBI Energy. The operational loss of nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini facilities significantly alters Japan's energy strategy and will contribute to rapidly rising demand for crude oil and LNG in developing and industrialized Asian nations.
According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the World Nuclear Association, the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini facilities represented approximately 20% of Japan's nuclear generation or between 50-60 terawatt-hours (TWh; billion kilowatt-hours) annually. SBI Energy estimates equivalent fuel resources of 1.0-1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd) or 170,000-200,000 barrels per day (bbd) of oil would be required to compensate fully for the shortfall in generation from the two lost facilities. The loss of Japanese nuclear capacity will increase net imports of natural gas in the Asia/Pacific region by at least 6% and at most 15% as Japan's natural gas is overwhelming supplied in the form of maritime-imported LNG. Net oil imports to the Asia/Pacific region could increase by 1-2% as a consequence of increased use of oil-fired power generation.
Beyond its current fleet of 54 nuclear reactors, the Japanese nuclear industry has an additional fourteen reactors under construction or planned for construction by 2020. "The unprecedented disaster in Northern Japan casts serious doubt on TEPCO's [Tokyo Electric Power Co.] nuclear development plans," noted SBI Energy analyst Nana Lapham, adding "the planned 2.7 gigawatt capacity expansion of the Fukushima Daiichi facility will no longer be possible." Plans by TEPCO and other Japanese utilities to construct another 15.3 GW in nuclear generating capacity face almost certain delays. Significant delays in nuclear reactor construction would serve to drive demand for oil and gas even further as utilities work to cover long-term growth in Japanese energy consumption.
The nuclear disaster in Japan has already affected LNG prices on spot markets as the country's utilities and industry rush to secure energy supplies. Long-term substitution of Japanese nuclear energy with primarily natural gas and oil will contribute to heightening demand for LNG and crude oil in developing Asian economies. Regional industry investment in upstream natural gas and oil production are anticipated in order to relieve supply pressures, particularly in China. SBI Energy analysts forecast enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in China to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% through 2015 in reference to the long-term increase in Japanese oil demand. Likewise, the Chinese energy sector is anticipated to supplement higher-priced LNG imports with greater domestic production from shale gas formations. SBI Energy projects that China will produce roughly 2.0 Bcfd of shale gas by 2020.
The LNG industry has moved to capitalize on greater Japanese LNG demand, yet another driver in the Asian market, by investing in greater gas liquefaction capacities in the Pacific Rim. Chevron recently announced engineering and design work at its LNG export terminal in Australia. In the past few days, Calgary-based Encana took a 30% stake in a planned LNG export terminal in British Columbia that was already held completely through two companies' shares. "Recent moves by LNG players are just the beginning in [terms of] the global energy sector's response to the events in Japan," said SBI Energy analyst Emil Salazar, "and we expect to find a number of other shifts in energy investment in the coming months."
Nations Respond After Japan's Nuclear Disaster
The World’s Nuclear Energy Technology Renaissance: A Market Analysis - In Wake of Japan's Nuclear Accident
On March 11, 2011 an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan; one hour later a tsunami hit the coast, causing massive flooding and destruction. Ten of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors were shut down due to the earthquake and the resulting tsunami; while four of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors succumbed to actual damage, inciting international attention. What are the new industry forecasts and values? And how will the market recover long term?
The World's Nuclear Energy Technology Renaissance
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