Rise and fall of the Nuclex nuclear exhibition
Published on 1/4/2016 by
At the time when nuclear power was regarded as a technology of the future rather than a safety risk, the nuclear industry met up at the Nuclex exhibition in Basel. Nuclex was staged for the first time in 1966; it was held for the last time in 1981 – with massive police protection.
In the 1980s, resistance to nuclear power was growing in the Basel region too. Planned nuclear power stations, such as the one in Kaiseraugst, were not built and successful "anti-nuclear initiatives" were launched in the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Baselland. It was not, however, the growing protests that led to the demise of Nuclex, but the absence of key international companies at Nuclex 1981. The last exhibition in 1981 had to be secured by a massive police presence.
Nuclex was staged six times between 1966 and 1981 and was accompanied by specialist exhibitions in each case. It highlighted the development and establishment of a civil nuclear industry and was extremely successful, since Switzerland did not protect its market for nuclear energy from outside competition and offered all exhibitors the same conditions.
By the way: interest in nuclear energy was already running at a high level in the 1950s. In 1958, a special show was dedicated to the subject and, in 1959, big Swiss companies presented a model for the construction of a pilot nuclear power station at the Basel exhibition site.