Market Competition in the Nuclear Industry

image of Market Competition in the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear power plants require a wide variety of specialised equipment, materials and services for their construction, operation and fuelling. There has been much consolidation and retrenchment in the nuclear industry since the 1980s, with the emergence of some large global nuclear companies. Electricity market liberalisation in many OECD countries has meanwhile placed nuclear plant operators under increased competitive pressure.

These structural changes in both the producer and consumer sides of the nuclear industry have had implications for the level of competition in the nuclear engineering and fuel cycle markets. With renewed expansion of nuclear power now anticipated, this study examines competition in the major nuclear industry sectors at present, and how this may change with a significant upturn in demand.

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Competition in the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle

Nuclear Energy Agency

The most important activities in the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle concern the management of spent fuel unloaded from operating NPPs. A typical 1 000 MWe LWR produces 20 to 30 tHM of spent fuel per year, with annual global arisings amounting to about 10 000 tHM. Since the start of the commercial nuclear industry, over 200 000 tHM of spent fuel have been generated. This total could double by 2030 if there is a significant upturn in orders for new NPPs.

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