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French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission

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French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
et aux énergies alternatives
Agency overview
Formed18 October 1945; 78 years ago (1945-10-18) by Charles de Gaulle
Preceding agency
  • Commissariat à l'énergie atomique
HeadquartersParis and Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Employees20,572 (2020)[1]
Annual budget5.1 billion (2020)[1]
Agency executives
Websitecea.fr (en)

The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, or CEA (French: Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives), is a French public government-funded research organisation in the areas of energy, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. The CEA maintains a cross-disciplinary culture of engineers and researchers, building on the synergies between fundamental and technological research.

CEA is headed by a board headed by the general administrator (currently François Jacq [fr] since 20 April 2018[2]), advised by the high-commissioner for atomic energy (currently Patrick Landais [fr]). Its yearly budget amounts to €5.1 billion and its permanent staff is slightly over 20,500 persons.[1]


CEA was created in 1945; since then, the successive high-commissioners have been Frédéric Joliot-Curie, Francis Perrin, Jacques Yvon [fr], Jean Teillac [fr], Raoul Dautry, René Pellat [fr], Bernard Bigot, Catherine Cesarsky,[3] Daniel Verwaerde [fr], and François Jacq [fr].

In December 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared[4] that CEA should change its name from Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (English: Commission for Atomic Energy) to Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (English: Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies); this change took effect on 10 March 2010, when the decision was published in the French Official Journal.


It conducts fundamental and applied research into many areas, including the design of nuclear reactors, the manufacturing of integrated circuits, the use of radionucleides for curing illnesses, seismology and tsunami propagation, the safety of computerized systems, etc.

It has one of the top 100 supercomputers in the world, the Tera-100.[5] TERA 100, first system designed and built in Europe to reach the petaflops in 2010, was ranked in 5th position in the worldwide TOP 500.[6][7] CEA is now building TERA-1000 which is a key step in the implementation of their Exascale program for the computing needs that CEA would face by 2020.[needs update]

In March 2016, Reuters published an article describing the "Top 25 Global Innovators – Government"[8] and placed CEA as "number one" amongst "The World's Most Innovative Research Institutions."[8]


CEA is divided into four directorates, or divisions:

Energies division (DES)[edit]

The direction des énergies [fr] (DES) comprises four institutes:[9]

  • Institut de recherche sur les systèmes nucléaires pour la production d’énergie bas carbone (IRESNE), in Cadarache
  • Institut des sciences et technologies pour une économie circulaire des énergies bas carbone (ISEC), in Marcoule
  • Institut des sciences appliquées et de la simulation pour les énergies bas carbone (ISAS), in CEA Saclay
  • Institut de technico-économie des systèmes énergétiques (ITESE or I-Tésé)

Technological research division (DRT)[edit]

The direction de la recherche technologique [fr] (DRT), known also as CEA Tech[10][11] division, is divided between two CEA sites, at Saclay and Grenoble. CEA Tech focuses on technological research and development in the field of energy, IT and health care information. It plays an active role in transferring knowledge and research to industry.

The CEA Tech division is further divided into three research institutes:

  • The CEA-Leti[12] lab works mainly on micro/nano technologies and specializes in microsystems, biotech, photonics and nanoelectronics. It is located mainly in Grenoble, France.
  • The CEA-List[13] lab works mainly on systems and software-intensive technology and specializes in embedded systems, sensors and big data, and advanced manufacturing. It is located mainly in Paris-Saclay, France.
  • The CEA-Liten [fr][14] lab works mainly on cutting edge technologies related to energy and nanomaterials. It specializes in building solar, carbon-free transports, biomass-hydrogen and nano materials-nanotechnologies.

The current director of DRT since january 2023 is Julie Galland.[15]

Fundamental research division (DRF)[edit]

The direction de la recherche fondamentale [fr] (DRF) consists of 9 institutes:[16]

The current DRF director since 2 november 2019 is Elsa Cortijo.[17]

Military applications division (DAM)[edit]

The direction des applications militaires [fr] (DAM) builds the nuclear weapons of the French military and designs the power plants for the nuclear submarines of the French Navy.


Civilian research centres[edit]

Civilian emergency organizations[edit]

Research centres for military applications[edit]

The sites of the DAM include:[18][19]

Spin-off companies[edit]

CEA has spun off multiple companies, some being partial subsidiaries or where CEA has minority interest. Some such companies are listed below:

CEA in Academics[edit]

University of Paris-Saclay[edit]

CEA has played an active role in research, development and innovation in the four main areas of low-carbon energies (nuclear and renewable), technologies for information and health technologies, very large research infrastructures (TGIR), and defense and global security.

Moreover, two of the ten CEA centers across France have joined with the University of Paris-Saclay[21] to develop high quality research and training. The centers which form a part of the University of Paris-Saclay include:

  • CEA Saclay Center,[22] which conducts research mainly in areas related to climate and environment, materials science, nuclear energy, life sciences and technological research
  • CEA Fontenay-aux-Roses Center,[23] which conducts research and innovation in areas related to imaging and biomedical technologies

(Since 2017, these two centers merged into CEA Paris-Saclay center, and are now referred to as sites in that center.)

The CEA researchers involved in the University of Paris-Saclay represent over 20% of the university's research potential, particularly in the field of physics and engineering. CEA maintains a strong presence in training to master and engineer level by administering INSTN, wherein various courses are taught by its researchers.

CEA has around 400 researchers who hold an accreditation to supervise research, making it a significant contributor to the research and doctoral programs of the University Paris-Saclay.


The INSTN, Institut national des sciences et techniques nucléaires (National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology) is a public higher education institution administered by the CEA (French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission) under the joint authority of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, the Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector and the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs.


  • Atos, ENS Paris-Saclay and CEA launched an academic partnership in 2016.[24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "CEA: Key Figures". CEA. 2020.
  2. ^ "François Jacq est nommé Administrateur général du CEA".
  3. ^ "Cesarsky appointed Commissioner to Atomic Energy". ITER. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2023.
  4. ^ See Les Echos Archived 2010-02-16 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  5. ^ "Tera-100 - Bull bullx super-node S6010/S6030 | TOP500 Supercomputer Sites". www.top500.org. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  6. ^ "Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA) | TOP500 Supercomputer Sites". www.top500.org. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  7. ^ "TERA 1000: CEA completes first milestone towards Exascale". Welcome. 2015-11-12. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  8. ^ a b "The World's Most Innovative Research Institutions". Thomson Reuters. 8 March 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  9. ^ https://www.cea.fr/Pages/le-cea/direction-des-energies.aspx
  10. ^ www.cea-tech.fr/cea-tech
  11. ^ "CEA Tech division". en.drt-cea.com. Archived from the original on 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2017-07-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. ^ Systems, eZ. "Cea Leti - Home". Cea Leti. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  13. ^ "Home - CEA LIST". CEA-List. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  14. ^ CEA (2013-10-19). "Accueil". CEA/Liten. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  15. ^ www.cea.fr/presse/Pages/actualites-communiques/ntic/accompagner-industries-europeennes-competitivite-resilience.aspx
  16. ^ https://www.cea.fr/drf/Pages/La-DRF/Instituts.aspx
  17. ^ www.cea.fr/presse/Pages/actualites-communiques/institutionnel/Elsa-Cortijo-DRF.aspx
  18. ^ https://www-dam.cea.fr/dam/plan-du-site
  19. ^ https://www-dam.cea.fr/dam/nos-sites
  20. ^ "2014 Annual Report". STMicroelectronics. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA)". Université Paris Saclay. Archived from the original on 2019-10-23. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  22. ^ Systems, eZ. "CEA Saclay". CEA Saclay Center. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  23. ^ CEA (2013-10-19). "Accueil". CEA/Centre CEA de Fontenay-aux-Roses. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  24. ^ "Atos, ENS Paris-Saclay and CEA launch academic partnership". Telecom Paper. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  25. ^ "The ENS Paris-Saclay, Atos and the CEA have created the 'Industrial Data Analytics & Machine Learning' Chair". GlobeNewswire. Retrieved 2016-11-01.


  • Bertrand Goldschmidt, Le Complexe atomique : histoire politique de l’énergie nucléaire, Fayard, 1980
  • Gabrielle Hecht, Le rayonnement de la France : Énergie nucléaire et identité nationale après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, La Découverte, 2004
  • Marie-José Lovérini, L’Atome de la recherche à l’industrie : le Commissariat à l’énergie atomique, Gallimard, 1996
  • Jean-François Picard, Alain Beltran et Martine Bungener, Histoire de l’EDF : comment se sont prises les décisions de 1946 à nos jours, Dunod, 1985