The nuclear decommissioning service market in Europe was valued US$ 2.68 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach US$ 4.29 billion by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% from 2020 to 2027.
The growing health concerns due to radioactive emissions from aging infrastructures have compelled the European countries to decommission nuclear power plants that are nearing the end of their operational lives. France and Germany are among the leading countries in the nuclear decommissioning services market in this region. The two countries rely heavily on nuclear power generation; however, the rising demand for power generated from renewable energy sources is propelling the decommissioning of nuclear power reactors in the countries mentioned above. The main countries contributing to the European nuclear decommissioning services market include the UK, Italy, Russia, and the Rest of Europe (Sweden and Belgium).
In Germany, the nuclear energy generation sector contributes 12% to the total electricity generation. The country has no plans to construct newer nuclear power plants in the coming years. Germany decommissioned 11 nuclear power plants in the past decade, including Philippsburg nuclear facility that retired in 2019. The German government has laid down its plans to decommission the remaining 6 nuclear power plants by 2022; these plants are Gundremmingen nuclear plant (2021), Grohnde nuclear power plant (2021), Brokdorf nuclear power plant (2021), Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant (2022), Isar nuclear plant (2022), and Emsland nuclear power plant (2022). The decommissioning strategies laid down by the government have been creating business growth opportunities for decommissioning service providers.
Commercial power reactors are the most preferred reactors among nuclear power generating companies. The demand for electricity has risen exponentially over the years, and this has led to the significant emergence of nuclear power generators across developed and developing countries. According to the Office of Nuclear Energy, US, there are 450 commercial power reactors worldwide. With the growth in the demand for electricity generated via renewable sources, rise in thermal power plants, and aging of long-established nuclear power plants, the governments are undertaking significant steps to decommission several power plants that are nearing the end of operational life. This is boosting the demand for services offered by the nuclear decommission services market players. The average lifespan of a commercial power reactor is 35-40 years. A large number of commercial reactors operating today are soon likely to reach the end of operational life, and the governments of respective countries have approved the plans for their decommissioning. The cost of dismantling and decommissioning a commercial nuclear power plant is high and requires huge workforce.
The Italian nuclear power generation and transmission sector contributes to only 8% of the country’s overall electricity generation and transmission. The country had 4 reactors in the past, but it has been decommissioning the reactors following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Italy relies heavily on import of electric power and is the world’s second-largest net importer of electricity. Sogin S.p.A., a government-owned nuclear decommissioning service provider, has been engaged in dismantling and decommissioning several nuclear power plants in the country. A few of the players operating in the Europe nuclear decommissioning service market are Babcock International Group PLC, Onet SA, Orano, Studsvik AB, NUVIA Group, PreussenElektra GmbH, NUKEM Technologies GmbH, GNS Gesellschaft fur Nuklear-Service GmbH, Atkins, and Sogin S.p.A.