22 June 2012 – About half of the world’s nuclear reactors are expected to be closed by 2030, creating a substantial market for the commercial nuclear reactor decommissioning industry in the years to come.

According to a new report from GlobalData more than 200 nuclear reactors, accounting for about half of the world’s nuclear facilities, will be decommissioned, assuming no life extensions are granted. The plans mean a significant boost for the global nuclear decommissioning industry, with Europe accounting for the bulk of the closures.

More than 150 reactors across the European region are set to shut down by 2030 as a result of either reaching the end of their life spans or due to prior shutdown plans. The continent accounts for nearly 74% of the global total and represents US$81,484 million of the commercial decommissioning market.

As of January 2012, France, the UK and Russia have the highest decommissioning market value, standing at US$21,494 million US$18,717 million, and US$13,446 million, respectively. The Asia-Pacific region has the second largest decommissioning market with a value of US$20,317 million, whereas North America has the smallest decommissioning market, rated at US$8,175 million.

Indeed, North America is expected to shutdown fewer nuclear reactors than other continents, with the US closing five and Canada set to decommission 17. Contrary to the global trend, the US has granted life extensions to 71 of its nuclear reactors and more extensions are expected in the future.

GlobalData states that while there is significant profit to be found in the swelling nuclear reactor decommissioning market, the high standards required to enter can be prohibitive. Regulatory standards and compliances are strict, so balancing a cost-effective strategy with the necessary safety measures may prove a key challenge.