POWER PLAY: After decades in disfavor, nukes are coming back; Areva head Lauvergeon wants to keep her firm in front

If Anne Lauvergeon had been given the choice, the French nuclear-energy company she heads would have been the next state-owned firm slated for partial privatization. Earlier this year, she and her colleagues at Paris-based Areva jumped the gun by preparing all the official paperwork for a public offering, and lobbied the government hard to be next in line. Her insistence ruffled some feathers, especially in the Finance Ministry, according to people familiar with the behind-the-scenes maneuvering. And late last month, she officially lost her battle when Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Finance Minister Thierry Breton announced that Electricité de France...

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