French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with BBC television on 17 April, repeated his government’s commitment to plans by state-EDF to build the Hinkley Point C NPP in the UK. French unions have been calling for postponement of the project and questions have been raised about the financial viability of the GBP18bn ($25.5bn) plant, which is to have two Areva-designed EPR reactors. EDF, which is 84-percent owned by the French government, is already struggling with a debt pile of more than 37 billion euros and trade unions have called for the project to be delayed.

"We back Hinkley Point project, it’s very important for France, it’s very important for the nuclear sector and EDF," Macron said. "Now we have to finalise the work, and especially the technical and industrial work, very closely with EDF, with the British government, to be in a situation to sign in the coming weeks or month." Asked if the project would come to fruition, Macron said: "That’s my view and that’s our perspective because I think it’s very important for our commitment to nuclear energy."

The project was announced in October 2013 but a final investment decision has been delayed as EDF has struggled to find partners and financing. China General Nuclear Power agreed to take a one-third stake last October, leaving EDF to fund the rest.