EDF’s Chief Financial Officer, Thomas Piquemal, has allegedly resigned due to financial concerns about the planned nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in the United Kingdom. EURACTIV Germany reports.
In a statement released last night (6 March), the company said that Piquemal had tendered his resignation last week. Company sources said that he had serious doubts about the feasibility of the project. EDF declined to comment on the details of the issue.
The French company is currently involved in the construction of a new nuclear power plant with two reactors in southwest England. It is set to be the United Kingdom’s first new nuclear installation in more than two decades.
EDF plans to finance two-thirds of the project, with the remainder of the funding provided by the China General Nuclear Power Group. The cost of the project, which will include the construction of two pressurised water reactors, is slated to be over €20 billion.
A final decision on investment is still pending, but in the middle of February, EDF announced that it hopes to begin construction “very soon”, despite a completion deadline of 2017 being initially tabled.
Unions have already called upon EDF to postpone the project, as there are fears that financing the project would put the company in serious jeopardy. EDF is 84.5% state-owned.
However, on Thursday (3 March), representatives from both France and the UK insisted that the project remains “a pillar” of Anglo-French relations and is a “crucial element” of British energy policy.
French Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron called the construction of the nuclear power plant a “very good investment” for EDF.
The project has caused controversy at a wider EU level after Austria challenged the European Commission’s decision last year to allow Westminster to finance construction with state-aid. The UK promised the French company a guaranteed energy for up to 35 years.
Austria’s Chancellor, Werner Faymann, appealed the EU executive’s decision, saying the “subsidies are there to support modern technologies that lie in the interest of all EU member states. This is not the case with nuclear power.”
Austria decided to ban nuclear fission in 1977. In 1997, its parliament passed legislation that maintains the alpine republic’s status as an anti-nuclear country. Its appeal is still pending and could take years to resolve.