Christian Stoffaës, President Emeritus of ICREI, pays tribute to Paul Mentré (1935-2020). This high-ranking civil servant was an alumni of both Polytechnique and ENA and a member of the prestigious General Inspection of Finances, He served President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing as his general delegate for energy in the 1970s:
In this position, he was in charge of supervising the implementation of the nuclear power programme – known as the “Messmer programme” – which was urgently decided in the real panic that accompanied the oil crisis. With no previous experience, the quarrel between the graphite-gas and light water sectors barely arbitrated, our country launched a gigantic investment program, of some sixty nuclear power plants, without equivalent in the world.
Mentré is part of the generation of engineers who built the nuclear rent that France still enjoys:
In the country of Polytechnique engineers, the Corps des Mines, industrial dirigisme, eyebrow nationalism and state monopolies, the liberal and Americanized civil servant, although a little isolated, surrounded by the Corps des Mines and the Polytechnique engineers, must cover the cooperation between the two reconciled giants: EDF and the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). An overpowering team, restive and difficult to tame, but which will work in harmony and which will give our country, built over a decade, a formidable asset.
Christian Stoffaës, « Paul Mentré (X54), un haut fonctionnaire libéral », La Jaune et la Rouge, n° 752, février 2020.