By Muhammad Suleman
Update:- July 25, 2017
A decree by the French provisional government, issued 18 October 1945 under the authority of President and General Charles de Gaulle, established the French Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique, or CEA), making France the first nation to establish a civilian atomic energy authority. Like the U.S. AEC (established later), it had authority over all aspects of nuclear affairs – scientific, commercial, and military. Raoul Dautry was appointed Administrator-General and Frederic Joliot-Curie, France’s preeminent nuclear scientist, was made High Commissioner. The site for the main nuclear research facility was selected at Saclay, south of Paris, but initial work began at a temporary site while the Saclay facility was constructed. The site selected was the old fortress of Fort de Chatillon on the outskirts of Paris. There France’s first nuclear reactor, the heavy water/natural uranium oxide EL-1 or ZOE (Zero power, uranium Oxide fuel, and Eau lourde – or heavy water), was constructed. ZOE went critical 15 December 1948.