The second World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE), the leading event for the global nuclear energy sector, which took place 28-30 June at Paris Le Bourget in France, confirmed its standing as a key business forum.
WNE 2016, with the theme ‘The nuclear industry in the global energy mix’, was distinguished by a strong international stature, the high calibre of its visitors and the large number of contracts and partnership agreements signed.


The success of WNE 2016 shows in the figures: 37% more exhibitors, 42% more exhibition space and over 22% more visitors compared with the last edition.
Also, with 35% of exhibitors (against 24% in 2014) and 28.5% of visitors (against 21.5% in 2014) from outside France, the exhibition’s international stature is confirmed.
35% international exhibitors compared with
24% in 2014
27 countries represented
17 national pavilions 28.5% international visitors compared with 21.5% in 2014
61% increase in foreign visitors

Opening ceremony
The opening ceremony presided over by Gérard Kottmann, WNE Chairman, and the address by Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), will undoubtedly stay in the minds of all participants. “2015 saw the biggest increase in nuclear power installations worldwide”, said Fatih Birol (…) “but one of the main challenges will be addressing public concerns over nuclear safety. We must not underestimate the importance of having a global regulating organisation that is up to the task.” He said that nuclear power was key to meeting the low-carbon objectives set by COP21 and that its part in the global energy mix must
Emmanuel Macron, the French Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Technology, addressing industry professionals, praised the “dynamism of the sector”, and confirmed that “nuclear power, far from being confined to the past, is very definitely an option that addresses the challenges of the 21st century, first because nuclear power has a significant impact on employment – (…) accounting for 220,000 highly skilled jobs, almost 2,600 companies and some €50 billion in revenues (…). And lastly, it is also at the centre of environmental and climate issues because it makes decarbonized electricity generation possible in France.”
Fruitful panel discussions
WNE 2016 offered 11 panel discussions (against 6 in 2014) chaired by WNE’s Platinum (Areva, EDF, Assystem, Engie), Gold (Boccard, CNNC, CGN, Rosatom, Westinghouse) and institutional partners (Andra, CEA), bringing together leading figures from the civil nuclear industry to discuss topics on the main theme of the 2016 edition, “Nuclear industry in the energy mix”.
First WNE Awards ceremony

The chairmen of the four judging panels: Bernard Bigot, (Innovation), Jacques Régaldo, (Operational Excellence), David Drury (Knowledge Management) and William D. Magwood IV, (Nuclear Safety), revealed the 2016 award winners at a ceremony at 5pm on Tuesday 28 June. The four winners were chosen from among 118 entries.
The winner in the INNOVATION category is…
AREVA for the project “Applying Ultra-High Pressure Cavitation Peening to extend the lifetime of critical nuclear components”.

The winner in the OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE category is…
ASE Group – Engineering Division of ROSATOM for the project “Management system of capital projects on the basis of Multi-D® Technology”.


The winner in the KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT category is…
EDF for the project “Operational fire risk management platform”

The winner in the NUCLEAR SAFETY category is…
AREVA for the project “Modular multi-purpose robots in support of nuclear investigation operations”
Side Awards

Other industry awards announced at WNE included the WiN Award on Wednesday 29 June, Innovatome, Spark Contest and FEM Energia on Thursday 30 June


Deals struck
Business was done not only on the stands where numerous contracts and partnership agreements were signed, but also during the special Business Opportunities sessions. After a successful first edition in 2014, WNE again gave organisations such as ITER and the European Commission, and countries including Canada, the USA, India, Poland and Turkey, the chance to present their requirements.
Productive discussions
WNE confirmed its standing as a global forum for the nuclear community, offering extensive opportunities for networking. This year there was a strong focus on training and knowledge development/transfer; hence the creation of the Training Planet, allowing countries to present their training needs and training institutes their programmes.
Exhibitors and visitors were also able to meet and network in the Workshops, and during Happy Hour on the first evening.
Start-ups supporting the nuclear industry at the Innovation Planet

In the age of open innovation, the IoT, fablabs and hackathons, the connected objects and 3D modelling used in video game development for example are a source of inspiration for the nuclear energy sector. Alongside the more traditional players, the Innovation Planet highlighted 15 or so pioneering companies whose ideas have been a springboard for innovation in the nuclear industry.

Photo credits: Photos © WNE 2016 – Christian Bamale