Additionally, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), emissions regulations will tighten in 2013 as it enters Phase III. Facing these circumstances, nuclear power surfaces as an attractive option in carbon-constrained Europe, and it is expected that nuclear energy will be back on the agenda for many countries which have been quite reluctant to this generating option.
"The nuclear sector in Europe is definitely undergoing a revival and all the indicators are that the next few years will be a strong time for orders, despite the financial crisis," says Maciej Jeziorski, Research Analyst, Energy & Power Systems, Frost & Sullivan. "The result is that many of the projects currently planned, proposed or at the pre-proposal stage are likely to be developed further. There are still challenges to overcome such as huge initial costs, getting the planning permission and long lead time for critical components, but overall the prospects for nuclear in the longer-term look good."
Nuclear power plants require huge upfront costs, but have not been significantly affected by the financial crisis as these are very long-term investments (plants take on an average 8-10 years to be constructed in Europe), and, most importantly, these facilities receive high political support. Moreover, the recent Russia and Ukraine gas dispute has further strengthened the prospects for nuclear, especially in Eastern Europe.
Benefits of nuclear power include the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, cost-effectiveness, increased energy independence and security, and the ability to make a significant contribution to the ever-increasing demand for energy. However, lack of political support and issues surrounding the storage and disposal of nuclear waste are seen as major constraints. The planning and construction of a nuclear power plant is extremely time-consuming and is significantly longer than any single government party rule in a country. Lack of public awareness related to waste management contributes to the issue of spent fuel storage and disposal.
The number of nuclear reactors in the EU has been decreasing since its peak of 177 in 1989. In 2008, there were 145 nuclear reactors in operation and nuclear power constituted around 30% of the total electricity generation mix for Europe. However, due to increasing political support and a number of planned and expected projects, this number is expected to increase significantly, as nuclear energy enters a period of renaissance.
After years of stagnation, Finland got the ball rolling in 2005 when the construction of its third unit at Olkiluoto site began. It was the first new facility in Western Europe after a 15 year hiatus. Likewise, France is constructing its new Flamanville 3 reactor and is planning to add new units. In December 2008, Slovak authorities resumed construction of two units at Mochovce site and Bulgaria has started constructing at the Belene site. Sweden is overturning a 30 year ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants. Italy has decided to reintroduce nuclear power into its energy mix after its complete phase-out of nuclear energy resulting from a 1987 referendum. The country hopes to begin construction of its first nuclear plant by 2013. Moreover, the United Kingdom, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia, have all announced nuclear construction plans.
"Despite having high CAPEX, it does not seem that the nuclear industry has been significantly affected by the current downturn," continues Jeziorski. "Consequently, future developments in nuclear energy mainly depend on fossil fuel prices, including emission trading costs and advancement of new nuclear technologies. Overall, the picture for nuclear power in Europe is rosy and nuclear power generation will gain importance in the future and will, undoubtedly, present a number of opportunities over the medium to long term".
If you are interested in receiving more information on the nuclear energy market in Europe, then send an email to Chiara Carella, Corporate Communications, at chiara.carella[.]frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company email address, company website, city, state and country. Upon receipt of the above information, a brochure will be sent to you by email.
GIL 2009: Europe
Frost & Sullivan has expanded its flagship Global Congress on Corporate Growth - GIL Global - into several major cities around the world including London. For the first time ever in Europe, Frost & Sullivan will be hosting the Growth, Innovation and Leadership Congress 'GIL 2009: Europe' on 19-20 May, at the Sofitel St James in London. GIL Global is the industry's only event designed to support senior executives in their efforts to achieve sustainable, top-line growth. To register, obtain a programme agenda, explore sponsorship opportunities, or attend as a member of the media for 'GIL 2009: Europe', please contact Chiara Carella, Head of Corporate Communications for Frost & Sullivan in Europe, at chiara.carella[.]frost.com. One-on-One interviews with Frost & Sullivan senior growth consultants are also being scheduled.
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