Hinkley still undecided

15 April 2016

France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on 14 April that he has not yet decided whether to go ahead with the Hinkley Point CNPP project in the UK, according to CGT union official Marie-Claire Cailletaud following a meeting between Macron and a delegation of EDF unions. He told parliament last month that a final investment decision on the project would be taken by early May.

Four major trade unions at EDF have said in an open address to President François Hollande that the company is not ready to start construction of the Hinkley project, Reuters reported. EDF's financial situation and the "degraded" working conditions are not a good basis to consider building nuclear reactor units in the UK, a joint statement said. The statement also said EDF should focus on upgrading the French reactor fleet, optimising the EPR model and investing in the French power grid.

In January 2016, the French energy union CFE-CGC published a set of challenges to EDF expressing serious concern about Hinkley Point's viability and what it might cost the company. At the beginning of March, the same union called for postponement of the project until 2019 so that problems with the EPR reactor design in France would be solved. EDF is planning to build two Areva 1,600MWe EPR units at Hinkley with first concrete for the project scheduled for 2019, according to the latest official statements.

However, earlier in April, French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal also said Hinkley Point could be postponed. She said the project has yet to prove its worth, and EDF must provide assurances that it will not build the reactors at the expense of investing in renewable energy. EDF's finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned in early March over concerns about the project's financing.

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