Valves and pumps make up the biggest portion of the total and are critical to nuclear safety. The need for highly reliable designs requires construction which is much more expensive than for applications in other industries. Absorbers and air filters are the primary protection against radioactive air releases. Cartridges, cross-flow membranes, liquid macrofiltration devices, treatment chemicals, and ultrapure water systems are required to purify and utilize water for steam generation, cooling and wastewater treatment.
Safety concerns are continuing to drive the replacement market. As a result, the parts and service segment of the market is bigger than for new equipment. Life extension is another driver. A number of nuclear power plants which were slated to be retired will now be operated well into the future. Substantial investments are therefore required to achieve this extended life.
Nuclear power plants include thousands of valves per installation. The applications include safety, control and isolation functions. These valves reflect virtually all types and sizes including ball, gate, globe, butterfly, check, plug, squib and other types of valves. Sizes may range from fractions of a gallon per minute to 100,000 gallons per minute to handle reactor cooling and condenser cooling. Applications range from the reactor cooling system governed by ASME Section III, Class 1 'N' stamp requirements to the less critical applications in condensate cooling and other secondary and tertiary applications.
McIlvaine projects that another 180,000 MW of nuclear capacity (either new or upgrades) will be added by 2020. The investment will be $900 billion. Annual repair parts and contracted services will be $100 billion per year or $1 trillion total in the 10 year period.
The current world nuclear capacity is approximately 372,000 MW(e), comprising 441 power reactors throughout the world and accounting for approximately 16 percent of total world power generation. The industry is entering a period of renaissance as concerns grow about greenhouse gases and global warming attributed to conventional coal-fired power plants. It is anticipated that the nuclear market will grow more than 35 percent (at a minimum) by the year 2030, with total nuclear generating capacity reaching 511 GW. Currently, there are 50 new reactors in construction or planned in 13 countries. Most new reactors are in the range of 1,000 to 1500 MW. Twelve countries have more than 5000 MW of nuclear capacity.
China has the most ambitious growth plans. McIlvaine projects China nuclear capacity will jump to 66,000 MW by 2020. This will require an investment of over $300 billion dollars or over $30 billion per year.