Bernard Bigot, a life in the service of research and science

  • 15.05.2022
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It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death, on 14 May 2022, of Bernard Bigot, High Commissioner for Atomic Energy from 2003 to 2009, Administrator General of the CEA from 2009 to 2015 and since then Director General of ITER. With him, France loses a great servant of the State, representative of French academic excellence in the scientific field.

A passionate man who will leave a lasting impression on the French and international nuclear community

A former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Saint-Cloud, he contributed in 1985 to the foundation of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon which he directed from 2000 to 2003. Bernard Bigot then passionately defended scientific research by holding high positions within the Ministry of Research as head of the scientific and technical mission, director general of research and technology between 1993 and 1997, and then director of the cabinet of the minister for research and new technologies from 2002 to 2003.


At the head of the CEA, he worked to develop this institution in depth and to open it up to new horizons - an opening that was made concrete by the transformation of the Atomic Energy Commission into the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission - without ever altering this nugget of French scientific research. He played a leading role in the impetus of the ITER project, launched in 2007 on the CEA Cadarache site. It was therefore only natural that he should take the lead, in 2015, in the international project to build the experimental fusion reactor. At the head of ITER, Bernard Bigot has demonstrated great qualities in bringing together all the stakeholders around a common objective; he has played a driving role in bringing ITER into its technological and industrial realisation phase.


At the last WNE, Bernard Bigot did us the honour of accepting to chair the jury for the first WNE Fellow Award.


GIFEN and the entire French nuclear industry offer their condolences to Bernard Bigot's family, in whom they wish to salute a passionate man whose commitment to nuclear research was admired by all, and who will leave a lasting mark on the French and international nuclear community.


Xavier Ursat,  President of GIFEN

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