High-level waste (HLW) created due to the use of nuclear reactors has been identified as a major issue globally. Unlike industrial waste, the hazards associated with nuclear waste, such as its radioactivity, do weaken with time. The used nuclear fuel left after it has spent over 3 years in reactors, generating heat to produce electricity, is the most significant HLW produced during nuclear generation. A majority of nuclear waste management strategies are therefore targeted at disposing of high-level waste. Transparency Market Research (TMR) finds that HLW accounted for the dominant share of 35.9% in the global nuclear waste management market in 2015.
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Stringent Emission Control Norms to Create Opportunities for Nuclear Management Market
Nuclear waste usually refers to materials or residues left after the burning of nuclear fuel in reactors. These residues mainly comprise radioactive materials that can cause acute radiation sickness. The rapidly growing population and the subsequently rising electricity demand, increasing dependence on fossil fuel, and increasing awareness regarding alternative energy sources are the key drivers of the global nuclear waste management market.
However, nuclear waste management requires high initial cost and has high payback period, which are inhibiting its growth trajectory to an extent. Nevertheless, the implementation of stringent government regulations aimed at curbing harmful emissions will boost opportunities for the market in the near future.
TMR forecasts the global nuclear waste management market to reach US$5,627.5 mn by 2024, rising at a CAGR of 16.7% between 2016 and 2024. The market stood at US$1,382 mn in 2016.
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Increasing Installation of Pressurized Water Reactors Fuels Demand for Nuclear Waste Management
Globally, the demand for waste management services is expected to be the highest from pressurized water reactors. Boiling water reactors are likely to exhibit the second highest demand for nuclear waste management in the global market. In 2015, the pressurized water reactors segment led the global nuclear waste management market holding a dominant share of 69.3%.
Likewise, the demand for nuclear waste management in boiling water reactors is also expected to rise in the forthcoming years. These reactors operate in lower fuel temperature and require lower pressure compared to pressurized water reactors. The boiling water reactors segment is thus poised to exhibit a greater CAGR than pressurized water reactors.
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The global nuclear waste management market is led by companies such as Areva SA, Veolia Environment Services, Bechtel Corporation, US Ecology, Inc., Augean Plc., and others.