Vignon had been head of Framatome since 1997 and organised the merger of the company’s nuclear activities with those of Siemens, to form Framatome ANP. During 2000, Vignon lost a long battle to prevent the company from being attached to Areva.

In 1993, Maurel joined Alstom as head of the steam turbine and turnkey power plant businesses, before becoming president of ABB-Alstom Power France. During this time he was involved in several nuclear projects, including China’s Daya Bay and Ling Ao, and France’s Chooz and Civaux. In December 2000 he joined Cogema as director of the enrichment division and member of the company’s executive committee.