This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data
Japan is quickly becoming one of the largest nuclear decommissioning and decontamination (D&D) markets in the world. Nuclear power supplied about 30% of Japan’s electricity a decade ago. But both public opinion and government policy dramatically shifted away from support for nuclear power following the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS) and caused concern about radiation contamination. Now, nuclear energy is the source of only 7.5% of Japan’s electricity. While nuclear power will still form part of Japan’s energy mix, only nine (out of 54) reactors have been brought back online since 2011, and 24 reactors will be decommissioned.
Japan is at the tail end of a 10-year energy market liberalization that has unbundled power generation, transmission and distribution, and retail. It has ten regional electricity power companies (EPCs), and most have at least one nuclear power plant decommissioning project. While domestic firms dominate the market, Japan’s EPCs are utilizing U.S. technologies and project management expertise. The main areas of decommissioning activity are:
- Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
- Non-Accident Commercial Reactors
- Research Reactors
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) oversees decommissioning the four damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactors. The project consists of treating contaminated water; removing nuclear fuel debris and spent nuclear fuels; and managing radiological waste, ultimately demolishing the facilities. TEPCO is currently developing and examining various technologies to effectively prepare for the removal, which is scheduled to take place by March 2022.
Non-Accident Commercial Reactors
As of October 2021, in addition to Fukushima, twenty non-accident shutdown reactors are being decommissioned, at an average estimated cost of $500-$700 million. While domestic reactor vendors, major engineering firms, or general contractors serve as prime contractors to EPCs, U.S. firms have seen some success in partnering with these Japanese firms and participating in smaller projects. Japan has been slow to adopt U.S. methodologies, including project management expertise that could minimize costs and shorten schedules. But U.S. products and technologies are still well-regarded and in demand.
Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), part of the Education Ministry (MEXT), is decommissioning a prototype nuclear test reactor (Fugen) and sodium-cooled fast reactor (Monju). While no U.S. firms are yet actively involved, the Monju project cost alone is estimated at $9.3 billion. JAEA is also decommissioning one small-scale research reactor, one reprocessing test facility, five research facilities/laboratories, and one waste treatment facility.
The U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and other USG and GOJ partners, has coordinated a series of D&D workshops, since 2012. The latest, held in 2020, focused on procurement practices and schedules; budget, contracting structures and performance evaluation; exploring potential U.S. industry collaboration in Japan; and regulation. While the Covid pandemic has halted in-person gatherings for the time being, we remain committed to supporting U.S. industry and showcasing U.S. technologies.
USCS also holds conducts an annual one-on-one matchmaking business event called the “NOA Conference” where international procurement managers from all of Japan’s regional EPCs gather to meet with U.S. suppliers. The next NOA Conference is currently scheduled for in May 2021.
- Agency for Natural Resources and Energy https://www.enecho.meti.go.jp/en/
- Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (https://www.meti.go.jp/english/index.html)
- Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO)
- The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan
- International Research Institute of Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID)
- Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc.
- Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF)
CS Japan Contact
Mr. Takahiko Suzuki, Senior Commercial Specialist Takahiko.Suzuki@trade.gov