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French Atomic Jamboree Seeks to Replicate Paris Air Show Success

France’s nuclear industry is seeking to replicate the success of Airbus Group NV in selling planes at the Paris Air Show by hosting a trade fair at the same venue.

The first World Nuclear Exhibition will be held Oct. 14 to 16 at Le Bourget north of Paris, where the European airplane maker and rival Boeing Co. compete every other year for contracts, organizers of the nuclear show said at a press conference in Paris. They plan to hold the event every other year, alternating with the aeronautics jamboree.

Promotion of the trade show comes three years after Japan’s Fukushima calamity prompted France’s neighbors Italy and Germany to pull back from atomic energy. A long-delayed French energy law to be unveiled this month may scale back atomic power in the world’s most nuclear-dependent nation.

“France needs an export market to feed its nuclear industry,” Bernard Bigot, head of the French Atomic Energy Commission, said today at a press conference in Saclay, south of Paris. “We have good-quality products.”

In addition to French companies like Areva SA and EDF SA renting exhibit space, conference organizers said about a quarter will come from outside the country, including London-based Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc and Westinghouse Electric Co. of the U.S. Talks are ongoing about participation of nuclear operators from China, which has the most reactors under construction in the world.

No New Builds

“It would be an illusion to think that we will sign as many contracts for new reactors as for new planes at Le Bourget,” said Gerard Kottmann, who is in charge of the event and also heads the Association of French Nuclear Exporting Industries. “The time scale for the energy industry is much longer.”

The fair will also attract companies specialized in dismantling, waste management and clean up as well as construction.

“Everyone knows there won’t be a new build in France for quite some time, but upkeep goes on,” Kottmann said.

France’s nuclear industry includes more than 2,500 companies and employees 220,000 people for an estimated 46 billion euros ($62 billion) in sales, according to documents about the trade fair.

Boeing and Airbus pulled in $129 billion in fresh business at the Paris Air Show last year.

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