Uranium Enrichment: Introduction
- Nuclear fuel that is used in a nuclear reactor needs a higher concentration of uranium-235 isotope than which exists in natural uranium ore. In this process, uranium isotope undergoes fission with thermal neutrons, which release energy in the form of heat.
Key Drivers and Restraints of Global Uranium Enrichment Market
- Demand for electricity has been rising across the world due to industrialization and urbanization; and government initiatives to provide electricity to every citizen in the country. Thus, rise in demand for electricity is anticipated to drive the global uranium enrichment market in the near future.
- Implementation of stringent rules and regulations to minimize carbon emission and greenhouse gases is another key factor driving the global uranium enrichment market. Nuclear power provides better, stable, and cleaner power. This is expected to propel the demand for uranium enrichment services during the forecast period.
- Challenges regarding safety and security of uranium enrichment plants is a major factor restraining the uranium enrichment market. Nuclear meltdown in these plants can lead to accidents. Thus, concerns over safety and security are estimated to hamper the uranium enrichment market during the forecast period.
Global Uranium Enrichment Market: Segmentation
- The global uranium enrichment market can be segmented based on isotope and process
- In terms of isotope, the global uranium enrichment market can be classified into uranium-234, uranium-235, and uranium-238. Uranium-235 is the dominating isotope used in uranium enrichment. Production of energy in nuclear reactors is carried out from the fission of uranium-235 atoms, which release energy in the form of heat. Thus, uranium-235 is likely to drive the market in the near future.
- Based on process, the global market can be split into centrifuge process, laser process, and gaseous diffusion process. The centrifuge process segment is expected to lead the market in the near future. Investment in centrifuge process in countries such as France, China, and the U.S. has been rising. These countries expect increase in investment in the centrifuge process in the near future.
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Global Uranium Enrichment Market: Regional Segmentation
- Based on region, the global uranium enrichment market can be classified into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
- Europe dominated the global uranium enrichment market in 2019. The region is expected to maintain its dominance during the forecast period, owing to large number of uranium enrichment plants in the region, particularly in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., and Russia & CIS.
- The market in Asia Pacific is likely to expand significantly during the forecast period owing to rapid increase in investment in the manufacture of uranium enrichment in countries such as China, India, and Pakistan
- North America is estimated to be a key region of the global uranium enrichment market in the near future. The U.S. is the leading country in the region, as the government is planning to increase the number of uranium enrichment plants in the country. This, in turn, is anticipated to propel the market in the region during the forecast period.
- The uranium enrichment market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is projected to expand at a steady pace during the forecast period. Rise in investments in uranium enrichment in Brazil, Argentina, and Iran is expected to drive the uranium enrichment market in the region in the near future.
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COVID-19 Impact on Uranium Enrichment Market
- The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of life across the globe. All major industries have been affected by lockdowns and restrictions on movement. Power generation is considered an essential service. As a result, the power industry has been affected less by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nuclear power accounts for about 10% of electricity worldwide. It also contributes to electricity generation in more than 30 countries. Employees of nuclear power generation plants in many countries have been identified as key essential workers that help maintain important infrastructure during the pandemic. Hence, the COVID-19 pandemic has not significantly affected the global uranium enrichment market.
Key Players Operating in Global Uranium Enrichment Market
- Urenco Group
- Nucleoelectrica Argentina
- Energy Resources of Australia
- Nukem Technologies
- National Thermal Power Corporation
- Constellation Energy Nuclear Group