World Commercial Nuclear Reactor

Published - Feb 2003| Analyst - Carolyn Bailey| Code - EGY032A
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Report Highlights

  • Several countries with significant numbers of aging reactors, including the U.S. and Russia, are planning to extend the lives of these reactors through refurbishment projects.
  • An important component of the market in the U.S. also will be capacity uprate projects.
  • The Asian market comprises 65.3% of the world market, while the former Soviet Union contributes 13.7%. The primary growth region will continue to be Asia.
  • The 2002 market is estimated at $14.5 billion and represents a slight decline from an estimated market of $14.6 billion in 2001.



More than 16% of the world's electricity is produced from nuclear energy, and more than a dozen countries rely on nuclear energy for at least one-third of their electricity. Although new construction of commercial nuclear reactors has leveled off in the U.S. in recent years, construction of new units is either planned or ongoing in several countries, including some countries with no historical use of nuclear energy. In addition, nuclear power plant performance has improved significantly over the past decade as a result of upgrades and optimization, providing increased electricity production from existing plants. This timely BCC report evaluates the future of nuclear energy in the competitive world market in light of global considerations such as energy security, nonproliferation, greenhouse-gas emission reduction, and increased market deregulation. It provides market projections for new construction and upgrades of existing plants by country and region for the years 2002-2007. The report also contains profiles for major companies in the industry and a products/services directory listing more than 600 companies.


This Opportunity Report is intended to be the most complete, technical, economic and document of its type on the commercial nuclear reactor industry. It is designed to provide information of a professional nature. The technical data are dependent on the accuracy of the manufacturers and technical sources that helped make up the BCC, Inc. database. This report is not intended to constitute a legal or accounting document, nor is it an endorsement of any given company or technology. The author and BCC, Inc., as the publisher, assume no liability for loss or damage resulting from reliance on this material.


This report will be valuable to those involved in all aspects of nuclear reactor construction, operations, maintenance, decommissioning, and fuel-cycle activities. The report will also be of interest to U.S. government agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy, as well as international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency. The report will be invaluable to vendors and consultants who provide solutions for the difficult problems associated with nuclear energy. Valuable information is also provided for investors, insurance investigators, legislators and policymakers, stakeholders, underwriters, researchers, and educators.


This report provides an analysis of the market for commercial nuclear power reactors worldwide. Types of reactors and their characteristics are described. The history, structure, and key regulatory drivers of the industry are provided, along with an analysis of future trends that will affect the industry. Selected companies in the industry are profiled. The report provides a detailed analysis of the current (2002) market and presents market forecasts through the year 2007 for each region of the world. The appendixes contain patent data; a product and services directory listing more than 600 companies; agencies and organizations; and references, including published and Internet sources of information.


The market forecasts include new reactors under construction, planned construction projects, and planned or assumed capacity upgrades and life-extension projects. The projections do not include research reactors, routine operations and maintenance for commercial reactors, decommissioning, or refueling operations. Unless otherwise specified in the available information on construction plans, new reactor construction through 2004 is assumed to cost $1,700/kW, and the construction period is assumed to be five years. Overnight capital costs are distributed equally across each year of the construction period for purposes of the forecast. Construction starting in 2005 and beyond is assumed to cost $1,200/kW, and the construction period is assumed to be four years. For upgrades and refurbishments of existing reactors, the cost is assumed to be $200 million per unit unless otherwise specified in published estimates. Throughout the report, market data are expressed in current (2002) dollars unless otherwise specified, and forecasts are presented in constant 2002 dollars. Market projections assume no extraordinary moves, no unexpected legislation, and no future changes in nuclear policy as a result of the events of September 11, 2001.


This report is based on extensive literature review, as well as online resources, patent examination, discussions with commercial and government sources, attendance at technical conferences, and an analysis of radioactive waste-management technology vendors and markets. The author also draws on years of hands-on consulting experience.

Some of the primary sources include reports, databases, and news articles published by the following agencies and organizations. A more extensive list of sources is provided in Appendix A by topic.

  • U.S. Energy Information Administration
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • International Atomic Energy Agency
  • International Energy Agency
  • National Energy Agency
  • World Nuclear Association
  • Argonne National Laboratory (U.S.)


Carolyn Doty is president of Doty, Inc., an energy and environmental risk-management firm specializing in all aspects of risk management, including technology evaluation, risk assessment, regulatory compliance, and policy analysis. She is a former researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and has supported the Department of Energy's headquarters programs, as well as projects involving all major DOE installations. Her experience also includes extensive work in the private sector, including major projects in the insurance, mining, and utilities industries.


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