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Power struggle makes sparks fly at atomic energy body

The CEA, France’s publicly funded research organisation for energy, defence and information and health technologies, is in the midst of a management upheaval, according to reports in the French press.

Daniel Verwaerde was appointed as head of the CEA—which has an annual budget of €4.3 billion and owns the nuclear power company Areva—in January this year. A report published on 31 December in the newspaper Les Echos said that all but one of the organisation’s senior directors have been replaced since then.

The most recent change came on December 15 when staff were informed that Christophe Béhar, head of the Nuclear Energy Directorate, would undertake a fact-finding mission on nuclear decommissioning. This was interpreted as signalling his departure from the directorate. Sources told the paper that by February François Gauché, who currently manages the organisation’s fourth-generation nuclear reactors programme, would replace Béhar.

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