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Nuclear power is the use of reactions that releases energy to generate heat, which is used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. Nuclear energy is a low-emitting source of electricity production and is the second largest source of low-carbon electricity production globally. The use of fossil fuels for electricity generation is reduced due to electricity generation from nuclear energy which also reduces greenhouse gas emissions resulting in the reduction of price volatility of other fuels such as petrol.
A nuclear power plant generates continuous electricity, approx. 90% of annual time. Major players are participating in nuclear power production as it is clean and emits low greenhouse gases which makes it an alternative source of energy. It also has more potential in the market due to the continuous advancements in technology. The segmentation is done on the basis of types of reactors and the usage of nuclear power in different areas.
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On the basis of types, the nuclear power market is segmented by type of reactors such as Pressurised water reactors, boiling water reactors, Pressurised heavy water reactors and others including Gas-cooled, Light water graphite, and fast neutron reactors. One of the major advantages of PWR is its turbine cycle, it has primary and secondary loops which are separate which means that primary and secondary loops will never touch or mix, so there is no chance for contamination of radioactive material in the main loop. Moreover, it is also easy to operate as when heat increases it produces less power. PWR is commonly used in countries like the USA, France, Japan, Russia, and China.
The key market driver for the growth of nuclear power reactors is the increase in demand for clean energy and the advancements in technology. Owing to advancements in technology, various advanced reactors have been launched, which are helpful in various stages of development. It also includes upgraded versions of reactors such as PWR, BWR, and PHWR. These reactors are expected to develop in the future to increase the flow of money in the nuclear reactor construction business as they are relatively low cost, low emission, and hold high energy density. According to the current consumption of nuclear power plants, we have enough uranium for 80 years approx. Thorium, which also is a greener alternative of energy, has lately been given an increased amount of attention. China, Russia, and India have already planned to start using thorium to fuel their reactors in the near future.
The factor that is expected to inhibit the growth of the market is the lack of nuclear safety, the anticipation of risks and radioactive waste management. Although, the nuclear industry is safe but in case of an accident the effect on people and impact on the global market, make any malfunctions unacceptable. On the other hand, the radioactive wastes generated while the production of nuclear energy cannot be recycled and thus leads to a major concern to think about. Referring to the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accident, the operations done by the staff was highly questionable.
Some of the major companies that are present in the global nuclear power plant market are BHP Billiton, Heathgate Resources, Paladin Energy, Electrabel, Electronuclear, Bulgarian Energy Holding, Uranium One, Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, Fortum, Areva, EDF, PreussenElektra GmbH, Nukem Energy GmbH, RWE AG, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Ansaldo Energia, Enel, Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc., Rosatom, Eskom, Vattenfall, Dominion Resources, NRG Energy and Korea Electric Power Corporation.
· Pressurised Water Reactors (PWRs)
· Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs)
· Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs)
· Others (Gas-cooled, Light water graphite & Fast neutron reactors)
· North America (the USA and Canada)
· Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia and Rest of Europe)
· Asia Pacific (Japan, China, India, Australia, Southeast Asia and Rest of Asia Pacific)
· Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Rest of Latin America)
· Middle East & Africa (South Africa, GCC, Nigeria and Rest of the Middle East & Africa)
The global nuclear power market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. In North America, the USA is the most dominant player in terms of production and consumption of nuclear power, in the field of electricity generation. France derives approx. 70% of electricity from nuclear energy, due to a long term energy security policy. In the Asia Pacific, there is a high potential for electricity consumption due to rapid growth in the industrial and commercial sector especially in China, Japan, and India. In the Middle East, countries like Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have lots of planned nuclear power plant projects which set to possess a growth in the nuclear power market in the coming years.