Nuclear Fuel Recycling Market: Recycling Used Nuclear Fuel can Produce Plentiful Energy for 100 Years

  • Nuclear fuel recycling is a process of reprocessing fertile or fissile fuel materials in order to reduce the high-level waste volume
  • Fertile U-238 and fissile plutonium are the major fuel materials that are largely being recycled across the globe. For instance, much of the researchers have successfully recycled plutonium from the used fuel and converted it into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.
  • Reprocessing nuclear fuel recovers uranium as reprocessed uranium (Repu) and reprocessed plutonium (Pu), thus, avoiding the wastage of valuable resources
  • Manufacturers operating in the nuclear fuel recycling market are developing new reprocessing technologies to be deployed in conjunction with fast neutron reactors. The new reprocessing technology is expected to burn long-lived actinides comprising uranium and plutonium, without separating them from one another.
  • There are various recycling technologies for recycling the nuclear fuel such as PUREX, COEX, NUEX, and THOREX. PUREX is a recycling technology for spent fuel which uses liquid-liquid extraction method for the separation of uranium and plutonium from fission products. The technology is widely adopted by France, Japan, the U.K., India, and Russia.

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Key Drivers of Nuclear Fuel Recycling Market

  • Rise in demand for recycling used nuclear fuel to recover unused plutonium and uranium drives the global nuclear fuel recycling market. Recycling process can contribute to closed fuel cycle, thereby contributing to national energy security.
  • Rise in demand for clean fuel and limited availability of naturally-occurring uranium are expected to fuel the demand for nuclear fuel recycling across the globe
  • Recycling of nuclear fuel reduces the volume of disposable waste to about one-fifth. It also decreases the level of radioactivity in disposable waste.
  • Uranium and plutonium can be recycled as a fresh fuel which aids in 30% reduction in requirement of natural uranium during fission and fusion process
  • Uranium (RepU) is one of the valuable elements with a high fertile potential. It is transformed into plutonium-239 during recycling process. All these factors are likely to boost the global nuclear fuel recycling market.

Rise in Demand to Recover Long-lived Actinides to Offer Attractive Opportunities

  • Increase in interest towards recovering long-lived actinides such as thorium, protactinium, as well as transuranic elements such as neptunium, plutonium, americium, cerium, and californium in order to reduce long-term radioactivity in high-level wastes and increasing proliferation resistance of the fuel cycle is expected to provide lucrative opportunities to the recycle service providers operating in the nuclear fuel recycling market
  • Currently, countries such as the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Finland, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden do not allow nuclear waste recycling and following direct disposal methods. Emphasis on preferring recycled nuclear fuel to generate electricity and reducing the use of naturally-occurring uranium are likely to provide lucrative opportunities to the nuclear fuel recycle service providers operating in the market

High Cost of Recycling Nuclear Fuel is Likely to Restrain Market

  • Recycling used plutonium as a reactor fuel is an expensive process as compared to uranium fuel. As per the energy department estimate, a recycling plant with annual production capacity of 2000 tons of spent fuel would cost up to US$ 20 Bn which is expected to hamper the market during the forecast period.

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Europe is expected to Hold Major Share in Market

In terms of region, the global nuclear fuel recycling market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.

  • In terms of consumption, Europe is expected to be a key region of the market during the forecast period. France, the U.K. and Russia are leading countries in Europe which have reprocessing facilities. For instance, France recycles spent fuel into mixed oxides from its 58 nuclear plants at Cap de la Hague.
  • In Asia Pacific, China, India, Japan, and Pakistan are the leading countries in terms of recycling nuclear fuel
  • In North America, 20% of the electricity is generated from nuclear plants and as per the U.S. government policy, most of the spent fuel from these reactors is disposed of in a deep geologic formation which may hinder the market in the region. In addition, other obstructions such as high recycling cost are some of the other factors hampering the market during the forecast period.
  • Rising emphasis on minimizing nuclear waste is pushing government to build a nuclear fuel recycling facility in the U.S. For instance, the U.S. government is building a nuclear fuel recycling facility at Savannah River nuclear reservation in South Carolina. This facility is expected to produce mixed-oxide fuel for generating electric power, not from power-plant waste, but from surplus plutonium in the U.S. weapons stockpiles.
  • Capacity expansion for uranium enrichment in Latin America and nuclear power plants in Middle East & Africa are expected to provide lucrative opportunities to the nuclear fuel recycling service providers during the forecast period in both the regions.

Key players in market:

Capacity expansion for recycling nuclear fuel is one of the key strategies adopted by top players operating in the market.

Key players operating in the global nuclear fuel recycling market include:

  • Orano
  • NUKEM Technologies Engineering Services GmbH
  • Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited
  • Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.
  • Areva S.A.
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.
  • JGC CORPORATION
  • Advanced Nuclear Fuels
  • GNS GesellschaftfürNuklear-Service
  • COVRA
  • Urenco Group
  • Others

Global Nuclear Fuel Recycling Market: Research Scope

Global Nuclear Fuel Recycling Market, by Type

  • LWR Fuel
  • Other Nuclear Fuels

Global Nuclear Fuel Recycling Market, by Material

  • Uranium
  • Plutonium
  • Others

Global Nuclear Fuel Recycling Market, by Processing Technologies

  • PUREX
  • COEX
  • NUEX
  • THOREX
  • NEXT
  • REPA
  • Others

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  • North America (U.S. and Canada)
  • Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and others)
  • Western Europe (Germany, U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Nordic countries, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg)
  • Eastern Europe (Poland and Russia)
  • Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, ASEAN, Australia, and New Zealand)
  • Middle East and Africa (GCC, Southern Africa, and North Africa)

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