Conferences@934: Nuclear Energy & The Environment

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In the series «CONFERENCES@934», the Consulate General of France in New York organized on October 12h a conference on the theme:

"Nuclear Energy as a Key Element in Rebuilding the Industrial and Environmental Commons.”

A conversation featuring Mr. Jacques Besnainou, Chief Executive Officer, Areva Inc. and Ms. Susan Eisenhower, President, Eisenhower Group, inc. and Chairman Emeritus of the Eisenhower Institute.

Watch highlights of the conference:


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Speech by the Deputy Consul General, Patrick Lachaussée:

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

I am happy to welcome you tonight to the Consulate for this second session of the year of Conferences@934. We restarted our cycle of conference two weeks ago. After last year’s success, I’m delighted to see so that there are still so many of you at these conferences.

Conferences@934, as you recall, bring together two speakers who confront their analyses, one French and one American on subjects of interest to international relations and the Franco-American relationship. I invite you to consult the Conference program on the Consulate website and to become a fan of our Facebook page to be informed of upcoming dates. You will find photos, video and audio recording of these conferences on our website the next morning.

Dear Friends,

I propose that we explore tonight a fascinating subject at the heart of international relations and great contemporary debates. We have called this conference “Nuclear Energy as a Key Element in Rebuilding the Industrial and Environmental Commons.”
Why such a subject? For at least three reasons:

The first reason being, as you may already know, that France is at the leading edge of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy represents 75% of our total electricity generation. With 59 active nuclear reactors, we have the second largest amount of nuclear power plants in the world, just behind the United States.

Secondly, because in the context of growing energy needs and the rarefaction of resources, notably fossil fuels and nuclear energy, all countries are searching for energy alternatives and energy mix combining renewable energy, fossil energy and nuclear energy. National independence is at stake as well as economy, industry and technology.

Finally, because today the fight against climate change is at the heart of the international community’s preoccupations. In France as in the United States, nuclear energy is at the center of the debate. “Clean Energy” for some in the measure that it presents lower carbon emissions yet for others it remains contested. It is thus also an environmental issue.

To tackle different questions we have the luck to have with us two key figures with impressive CVs tonight. Please allow me to present them briefly.

Jacques Besnainou is the CEO of Areva North America, word leader in nuclear energy. He’s an engineer and a graduate of some of the best universities in France. He developed with success the American branch of Ecobilan, an environmental consulting company before becoming its CEO. In 2001, he was named Executive Vice-President of COGEMA in charge of nuclear waste management in the United States. Since 2005, he has worked for Areva, of which he is the CEO for North America since the beginning of this year.

Susan Eisenhower is President of the Eisenhower Group, Inc. which provides strategic counsel on political, business and public affairs projects. She has undertaken extensive work on questions of energy, notably in the emerging markets of the former Soviet Union. She is an advisor for the US Chamber of Commerce’s New Institute for 21st Century Energy. She regularly writes in periodicals concerning foreign and domestic policy with regards to nuclear and spatial questions. She was a fellow at the prestigious Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University and at the Nixon Center.

Before beginning, please allow me to remind you the rules of this exercise. Each speaker will speak for a dozen or so minutes. Their speeches will be followed by a half an hour of Q&A with the public. I’d like to simply add that each speaker is free to express their own opinions. We will close the session towards 7:45 to have a refreshment together.

Without further ado, I give the floor to Susan Eisenhower and Jacques Besnainou.

I wish you all a good evening.

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Jacques Besnainou was appointed CEO of AREVA Inc. on January 1, 2010 . Mr. Besnainou holds Master of Science degrees in Mathematics, Engineering and Public Policy from Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines – France ’s leading engineering schools. Jacques has acquired nearly 20 years of management and systems engineering experience in both France and the United States .
Mr. Besnainou began his career in 1987 as a management consultant for a French investment bank, but was shortly thereafter appointed as an advisor to the French Ministry of Industry for civilian nuclear affairs. In 1993, Jacques joined the Ecobilan Group, an environmental consulting firm specializing in life cycle assessments. He went on to successfully form and develop Ecobilan’s U.S. subsidiary, and relocated to the Washington , DC area. After becoming the CEO of the Ecobilan Group, he negotiated its sale to PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2000. Mr. Besnainou then joined COGEMA, Inc. in 2001 as Executive Vice-President, in charge of used nuclear fuel management operations in the United States . In 2005, Mr. Besnainou was appointed at the AREVA Nuclear Executive Committee in charge of the Back End sector. He served as President of AREVA Inc. and President and CEO of AREVA NC Inc. from September 1, 2008 through to his current appointment as CEO of AREVA Inc.
Jacques Besnainou now lives in Bethesda , Maryland , with his wife Isabelle and their three French-American children.

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Susan Eisenhower is President of the Eisenhower Group, Inc. which provides strategic counsel on political, business and public affairs projects. She has consulted for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies doing business in the emerging markets of the former Soviet Union and for a number of major institutions and companies engaged in the energy field. Ms. Eisenhower also serves as Chairman of the Eisenhower Institute’s Leadership and Public Policy Programs. She had served as the Eisenhower Institute’s president twice, and later as Chairman. During that time, she became known for her work in the former Soviet Union and in the energy field.
She has received four honorary doctorates and she has been a Fellow at Harvard’s JFK School of Government’s Institute of Politics and a Distinguished Fellow at the Nixon Center . She currently sits on the Nuclear Threat Initiative board, is part of the Energy Future Coalition and serves an advisor to the US Chamber of Commerce’s new Institute for 21st Century Energy and the Air Force Academy ’s Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies. She has written chapters for a number of collected volumes and penned hundreds of op-eds and articles on foreign and domestic policy for publications. She has also written extensively on nuclear and space issues and in 2000, a year before September 11, she co-edited a book, Islam and Central Asia, which carried the prescient subtitle, An Enduring Legacy or an Evolving Threat? Eisenhower has also been seen as a “talking head” on many TV programs and documentaries.

«CONFERENCES@934» is a series of monthly conferences organized by the Consulate General of France that brings together two leading experts, one French and one American, who share their analyses on international issues.

Last modified on 11/01/2017

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