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WNA: Supporting a Fast-Globalizing Nuclear Industry

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The World Nuclear Association is the international organization that promotes nuclear energy and supports the many companies that comprise the global nuclear industry. 

WNA arose on the foundations of the Uranium Institute, established in London in 1975 as a forum on the market for nuclear fuel. In 2001, spurred by the expanding prospects for nuclear power, the UI changed its name and mandated itself to build a wider membership and a greater diversity of activities. The goal was to develop a truly global organization geared to perform a full range of international roles to support the nuclear industry in fulfilling its enormous growth potential in the 21st Century.

Since WNA’s creation in 2001, the effort to build and diversify has born fruit. WNA membership has expanded three-fold to encompass (i) virtually all world uranium mining, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication; (ii) all reactor vendors; (iii) major nuclear engineering, construction, and waste management companies; and (iv) nearly 90% of world nuclear generation. Other WNA members provide international services in nuclear transport, law, insurance, brokerage, industry analysis and finance.

WNA will remain a work in progress. Its rapid growth reflects recognized value and represents major advance in building toward universal industry membership. Today WNA serves its membership, and the world nuclear industry as a whole, through actions to:

  • Provide a global forum for sharing knowledge and insight on evolving industry developments 
  • Strengthen industry operational capabilities by advancing best-practice internationally 
  • Speak authoritatively for the nuclear industry in key international forums 
  • Improve the international policy and public environment in which the industry operates

An overarching WNA purpose is to foster interaction among top industry leaders to help shape the future of nuclear power. Led by senior industry executives, the WNA Board sets priorities, budgets and fees to support a diversity of WNA activities, including more than a dozen industry Working Groups, which are staffed by a small London-based secretariat. All WNA activities focus on objectives outside the scope of national associations, intergovernmental organizations and the industry’s reactor safety organization, WANO. WNA roles thus complete the mosaic of nuclear industry support, as follows:

WNA Representation of the Nuclear Industry in the International Arena

Today, in contrast to earlier ad hoc efforts to represent the industry in international forums, coordinated action through WNA yields both greater efficiency and stronger impact in:

  • IAEA and NEA advisory committees on transport and all aspects of nuclear safety
  • United Nations policy forums focused on sustainable development and climate change 
  • ICRP and Ospar deliberations on radiological protection.

WNA representation presents industry expertise and perspective early in the deliberative process, and is clear and unreserved in promoting the maximum feasible use of safe nuclear power.

WNA Coordination of Industry Cooperation

WNA Working Groups assemble industry experts to share international lessons and knowledge with the purpose of:

  1. Acting as central coordinator for industry strategies to build worldwide recognition of nuclear power’s clean-energy contribution, with special focus on global climate change negotiations
  2. Defining steps and mechanisms needed to promote the industry goals of standardization in reactor design and harmonization of regulatory practice 
  3. Providing frequent opportunity for WNA members to discuss developments in nuclear fuel and trade, including primary & secondary uranium supply, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication 
  4. Producing a biennial WNA Market Report that compiles credible data from companies, national sources and international agencies to produce an authoritative projection of the global fuel market 
  5. Identifying specific measures necessary to achieve capacity optimization in power plant operations 
  6. Enabling companies to demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility by strengthening and gaining better public recognition of industry stewardship of uranium from mining through disposal 
  7. Gathering and analyzing data essential to accurate assessment of industry economics 
  8. Improving the standard definitions used to grade nuclear “incidents” and identifying and disseminating best-practice for the industry in accurately describing such events to the public 
  9. Developing a cohesive industry response to diverse proposals to “internationalize” sensitive aspects of fuel cycle and proposals to establish an international nuclear fuel bank 
  10. Coordinating industry action to overcome localized policy impediments to the safe and efficient mining of uranium and transport of nuclear fuel 
  11. Addressing crucial legal issues surrounding nuclear new-build and the start-up of nuclear power operations in new nations
  12. Challenging international barriers to legitimate commerce in nuclear equipment and supplies. 

Major Industry Conferences

The Annual WNA Symposium in London’s Central Hall Westminster each September is the pre-eminent event on the industry’s calendar, attracting some 800 leaders and managers from around the world. In April, the joint WNA-NEI World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference draws some 350-400 experts to venues rotating annually from Europe to Asia to America.

The WNA Public Information Service

The WNA website serves as the world’s leading information source on nuclear energy and the global industry that produces it. In cyberspace today, there is no close competitor. Some 120 WNA information papers, frequently updated, appear prominently on Google searches, with the result that a WNA webpage is downloaded every 7 seconds by users inside and outside the industry. Stated simply, when nuclear questions are asked on the internet, WNA is the unparalleled supplier of reliable answers. The WNA Public Information Service is the world’s “base-load” generator of comprehensive, accurate information on nuclear energy.

World Nuclear News (WNN)

WNN has become the world’s leading online news service on developments related to nuclear power, providing value to journalists, analysts and industry experts. WNN’s current subscription list of 18,000 regular email recipients grows steadily, as does its reputation for reliability. It serves WNA members, non-members, and the public alike.

The World Nuclear University

Through the WNU partnership, WNA works to unite IAEA, WANO, NEA and WNA in projects to examine key policy issues, enhance nuclear education and build nuclear leadership.

A Reactor Design Harmonization forum and a School on Radioisotopes are recent WNU initiatives. The WNU’s leading activity is its 6-week Summer Institute at Oxford University. Since 2005, this unique leadership-development programme has spawned a network of 500 former WNU Fellows from 50 nations. Major WNA companies regularly nominate promising young professionals to become WNU Fellows in the expectation that this network will hold increasing business significance in a fast-globalizing nuclear industry.

Support for Women-in-Nuclear and WNTI

WNA acts as the secretariat for Women-in-Nuclear/Global and also works to support and complement the activities of the World Nuclear Transport Institute

The WNA Index

The WNA Index (WNAI) is a rule-driven basket of some 65 nuclear-related stocks traded on major world exchanges. Included are uranium miners, enrichers, reactor vendors, engineering & construction companies, and nuclear utilities. Leading Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) makers in the U.S. and Europe have licensed the WNAI as a basis for ETF’s that offer a diversified investment in the global nuclear industry. Explaining the Index to the financial community enables WNA staff and member companies to educate analysts and investors on the nuclear industry’s expansive long-term prospects. 

Optimizing WNA’s Role

WNA activities support the global nuclear industry by providing direct benefit to individual member-companies and collective benefit to the industry as a whole.

Member-companies gain direct benefit by participating in WNA Working Groups, in WNA conferences and, at the upper echelon, in special WNA sessions for senior industry leaders. From these activities and a members-only website, WNA members gain efficient access to global contacts, market-related information and business opportunities. WNA members also gain round-the-clock exposure from the high-visibility WNA and WNN websites, which feature member-company logos linked to their corporate websites.

Much of WNA’s work also delivers collective benefit to all companies in the global nuclear industry regardless of WNA membership. Because this benefit depends on broad-based industry participation and support, the WNA Board has – for reasons of both efficacy and fairness – set the goal of a WNA membership encompassing all major companies in the global nuclear industry.

Continued WNA growth to achieve universal industry participation will extend a principle already well established. Two decades ago, to unite in promoting nuclear safety, the world’s nuclear utilities joined in supporting the WANO network of technical exchange and peer review. They have sustained that partnership in recognition of interdependence and shared interest.

Today WNA has forged an international role parallel to WANO’s by performing an array of industry-support services that deliver direct benefits to WNA members and collective value to nuclear utilities and nuclear vendors everywhere. This success to date now offers strong reason for all companies in the nuclear industry to unite in providing the resources, participation and guidance needed to optimize WNA’s role. Universal WNA participation will enhance the commercial prospects of its members while strengthening the foundations for an expanding, fast-globalizing industry on which the world will increasingly depend.



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