EDF board member quits ahead of Hinkley decision: report

EDF board member quits ahead of Hinkley decision: report

A member of EDF’s board has quit ahead of a meeting today which is expected to see the company make a final investment decision on Hinkley Point C, Reuters has reported.



EDF board member quits ahead of Hinkley decision: report

Gerard Magnin said he was concerned the company was becoming too focused on nuclear power at the expense of renewables.

“As a board member proposed by the government shareholder, I no longer want to support a strategy that I do not agree with,” he wrote in a resignation letter to chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy, seen by Reuters.

Magin said at the time of his appointment in 2014 he had expected EDF to reorient itself towards renewables, but its centre of gravity was instead shifting towards nuclear. He described Hinkley as “very risky” and said he hoped it would not “drag EDF into the same abyss as Areva”.

Like EDF, Areva is 85 per cent owned by the French state. Earlier this year the government agreed to bail out the company after it posted huge losses relating to the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) it is installing at the Olkiluoto plant in Finland.

The reactor is over budget and behind schedule, and the company which owns the plant, TVO, has taken legal action against Areva. The same reactor design will be used at Hinkley.

As part of the bailout EDF is expected to buy a majority stake in Areva NP – the part of the company which manufactures nuclear reactors.

As well a decision on Hinkley, today’s board meeting will also see discussion EDF’s offer for Areva NP and vote on extending the life of France’s ageing nuclear fleet from 40 to 50 years, several sources told Reuters. 

Other sources told the news agency all six of the union representatives on the company’s board will vote against giving the all-clear to Hinkley. A decision is expected to be announced this evening.

Director of Greenpeace John Sauven said: “The UK government is signing a deal with a company that can barely hold itself together. Major figures are quitting in dissent, the company’s employees are up in arms and a similar reactor being built in France is under investigation by the French nuclear regulator.

“This is yet another strong signal that the UK government should not sign a deal just to save its blushes but take a rational decision based on evidence. That decision should be to forget Hinkley and undertake serious investment in the UK’s huge renewable energy potential.”

In March EDF’s chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal left the company, reportedly because of concerns over the funding for Hinkley.

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EDF board member quits ahead of Hinkley decision: report
BDC July 2022 issue - 294

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