We recommend everyone read the article “Why Anne Lauvergeon Stayed at AREVA,” which quotes our CEO Anne Lauvergeon as told to Bloomberg Businessweek. Some highlights:
Fukushima confirms that when it comes to safety, you can’t negotiate. The nuclear industry’s responsibility is to be transparent. Given the catastrophe, this requirement will grow even more. I’ve always advocated the most rigorous standards and secure technology …
In this she recounts her role in the creation of AREVA and its new role in the French energy arena:
… The French mainstream believed nuclear had no future. Oil prices were low, but we still needed domestic sources of energy. I pushed for Cogema to merge with Framatome. My friends told me to forget about trying to bring these companies together and to worry about my own career. But I felt we could be stronger as one company. In 2001 we became AREVA …
Then she discusses being offered the role of France’s Finance Minister, and the choice she made to stay at AREVA:
It wasn’t easy saying no. Did I worry about the impact on the company? Of course. Still, I felt my value was here. I’m very attached to AREVA. My term is up in June, and I would like to stay on. That’s not my decision, but right now my mind is on this business every second.
Mme. Lauvergeon closes with the role of nuclear energy, specifically post-Fukushima, and the obvious need for extremely safe, extremely well-engineered solutions:
I think nuclear power will continue to play an important role by reducing the dependence on imported energy, lowering carbon emissions, and ensuring security of supply. In the past, critics have said that AREVA’s new reactors are too expensive. But we build them to withstand the crash of a wide-body aircraft or any type of serious accident, including a core meltdown. There is a cost. We lost a major bid last year to a cheaper competitor. But I believe that low-cost reactors are not and should not be the future.”