Nuclear Wares

French atomic power Areva should be thriving in the pro-nuke climate. Instead, it's fumbling

MOIRENC CAMILLE / HEMIS

A reactor's cooling towers in France's Rhone Valley.

This should be Areva's time in the sun. As nations search for clean, renewable energy sources and consumers worry about volatile oil prices, nuclear power is hot again. Over the next decade, the world is expected to build 180 nuclear plants, up from just 39 between 1999 and today. The state-owned French giant is scrambling, though, not just to rectify a series of snafus at a high-profile reactor it's building in Finland, but also to raise more than $10 billion in new capital and weather the loss of an important industrial partner.

All that has raised concerns that CEO Anne Lauvergeon--who...