Wednesday, 1 April 2015

2020 Vision: The Near Future of Nuclear Power Market

Nuclear power technology has been adopted as a source of power generation by many industrialized economies. Several developing countries have also developed plans to expand their energy portfolio by adapting nuclear technology for power generation. The components installed in a nuclear power plant are similar to those of a conventional fossil-fueled power plant, except that fission process is used instead of the combustion process. Uranium is the most common material utilized and energy released from uranium in the form of heat and radiation is used to generate electricity in the nuclear power plant. However, after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant there have been many controversial views regarding safe deployment of nuclear power technology. Despite decisions by some countries to phase out nuclear energy, the market for nuclear power is expected to grow at a substantial rate. Many new nuclear reactors are planned, especially in China and Russia.
The decreasing fossil reserves and the need to reduce import bills are encouraging national governments and energy companies to invest in nuclear power market. The major consuming centers of the world are dependent on imported fuel sources from foreign nations. The urge to reduce this dependency on imports is attracting investment in nuclear power market. Nuclear power plants can be highly efficient when compared to thermal power plants, thus the demand for efficient systems is also attracting investment in this market. Countries such as France produce a major share of their electricity from nuclear power which proves that nuclear power is an economic alternative to conventional power plants. Nuclear technology does not burn fossil fuels and consequently do not liberate polluting gases which makes this technology attractive while fulfilling emission standards in a country. However, nuclear power is still considered a controversial technology for power generation. Many drastic accidents such as the Chernobyl incident in 1986, has led to the death of people working in nuclear facilities. High costs associated with storing and monitoring the radioactive waste material acts as a major restraint for the growth of the market.
The nuclear power market can be segmented based on water reactors utilized in nuclear power generation. The four broad segments are Generation I technology, Generation II technology, Generation III technology and Generation IV technology. These technological segments can be further sub-divided based on water reactor technology. Currently, Generation III technology is the most is the most widely installed technology employed in nuclear power generation. However, Generation IV technology is being developed in several countries which aim to establish sustainable nuclear power growth.
North America is the leading region in the nuclear power market and currently, many large scale plants are installed in the U.S. The stringent environmental regulation in Europe has encouraged many countries to invest in nuclear power market. Countries such as France, Spain and Germany have heavily invested in this technology in the past. Russia plays an important role in further development of nuclear technology. Many new nuclear power reactors are planned and the country is intensively investing in wide spread adoption of this technology. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market in this segment with China leading the growth in this region. The Chinese government has planned many new nuclear installations to reduce their dependency on imported coal, for power generation. Korea, India and Taiwan are also expected to increase investments in nuclear power generation technology.
Some of the major companies involved in the nuclear power market are Bruce Power, China General Nuclear Power Corporation, CEZ Group, E.ON SE, and Nukem GmbH.

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