The UK’s planned Hinkley Point C nuclear energy project has had a troubled road to development to date, with a substantial and growing number of apparent roadblocks appearing in recent times.
To add two more — a rep for the French CFE-CGC Energy Union (which maintains two seats on the EDF Energy board) recently came out and said that the beginning of construction should be delayed until at least 2019; and the EDF Finance Director recently quit just ahead of a final investment decision on the £18 billion nuclear project. (Hat tip to CleanTechnica reader Philip W on both of these.)
The CFE-CGC rep in question, Francis Raillott, commented that, owing to issues with the development of a project featuring a similar reactor design in Flamanville, France, investment and construction should be held off until at least 2019 — enough time to gauge the reality of the situation. As it stands, the Flamanville project is itself years behind schedule and many millions of euros over budget.
“Right now, Hinkley is too risky for the company,” Raillott commented. “We think it is better to wait and see. Wait for 3 years so we can see that everything works… or not.”
To explain the situation better here — unions currently occupy 6 out of 18 seats on the EDF Energy board, and the board is slated to vote on a final investment decision in the near future.
On that note, as stated above, the EDF Finance Director, Thomas Piquemal, recently quit — just ahead of the aforementioned final investment vote and decision. He reportedly quit because he “feared the project could jeopardize EDF’s financial position.”
BBC News provides a bit more on related fronts:
Last month, Chris Bakken, the director of the project that could produce 7% of UK electricity by 2025, said he was leaving to pursue other opportunities.
Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman and chief executive of EDF, said Mr Piquemal told him of the decision to leave last week and that he regretted the “haste” of Mr Piquemal’s departure. The company’s board is expected to finalize in April how it will fund the project after postponing the decision a number of times. Mr Levy said the board was studying the investment in Hinkley Point to ascertain the best way to finance the power plant. He added that EDF aimed to announce a final investment decision “soon”.
EDF has provisionally appointed Xavier Girre, who joined the company last year as finance director of its French business, as the group finance chief.
As Piquemal was a known critic of the project, one would presume that his departure is intended to clear the way for its approval. A point supported by the French government’s recent announcement that it was continuing to back the project. (The French government owns a large portion of EDF.) The announcement was made following a meeting of Francois Hollande and David Cameron.
If nothing else, not a good look for those involved.
Considering the political will that seems to be behind the project, though, it shouldn’t be surprising if — despite all of its problems — the Hinkley Point C project continues moving forward. Who knows when or if it would/will actually be finished, though, even if it does ostensibly continue moving along.
The whole situation seems like quite a boondoggle, doesn’t it? Any Americans gloating right now, however, may want to recall and bring to mind the continuing farce of the development of the F35….
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