NEWS RELEASE MARCH 2013
Nuclear Power Plants Will Spend $1.6 Billion for Valves Next Year
Nuclear power plants use thousands of valves. Older power plants need to replace and repair valves and in some cases to upgrade them to meet new safety standards. This has created a world market which will exceed $1.6 billion in 2014. This is the conclusion reached in the new McIlvaine report, Nuclear Power Plant Valve Forecast and Analysis.
The Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in March 2011 has reshaped the nuclear power industry. Some countries halted construction for further review. Others decided to phase out nuclear power. A number of countries are now again moving forward.
China is currently leading the world with approximately 26 new nuclear reactors under construction or planned for near-term construction. In January 2013, China started up the first new nuclear reactor to become commercial since Fukishima. Worldwide, there are close to 60 reactors in construction or near construction.
The total valve investment in a typical 1,000 MW nuclear power plant is in excess of $80 million. There is some variation from design to design. Nuclear power plants of either PWR or BWR design include more than 5,000 valves per installation. The valve applications include safety, control and isolation functions, among others. More than 500 valves are classified as “safety” valves with the balance classified as “non-safety.” These valves reflect virtually all valve types and sizes including ball, gate, globe, butterfly, check, plug, poppet, squib and others. Valve sizes range from fractions of a gallon per minute for chemical feed regulation to many thousands of gallons per minute for controlling reactor cooling and condenser cooling.
The future for nuclear power may depend on the trajectory of continuous-improvement in reactor designs already established by the major suppliers including Areva, GE, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Westinghouse and others sourced from Canada, Russia, China and South Korea. The two most prominent reactor types today are pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs). Currently, the PWR predominates in terms of installed and planned megawatts. Both reactor types have been significantly improved in terms of design simplicity and safety features relative to the early designs of the 1960s and 1970s. Improvement in valve design has kept pace with the plant improvements.
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