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EDF insists Hinkley C definitely 'will go ahead' in MP grilling

An impression of what the new reactor would look like. Credit: EDF

The delayed multi-billion pound Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset will go ahead, according to the head of French energy giant EDF.

Assuring MPs today, the chief executive of the firm behind the project said he had confidence in the £18 billion project.

Vincent de Rivaz pictured with David Cameron Credit: PA

Although admitting it had been "a long road", Vincent de Rivaz told the Energy and Climate Change Committee "clearly and categorically" that Hinkley Point C will be built.

French economy minister Emmanuel Macron has said EDF would make a final investment decision on Hinkley Point in early May.

It would be the first nuclear power plant to be built in Britain in two decades.

EDF is financing two-thirds of the project, with the rest coming from Chinese investment.

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EDF Chairman confident Hinkley Point C will go ahead

Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

The chairman of EDF says he's confident a new reactor will be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman and chief executive of EDF Group, wrote to staff on Friday saying, although the financial context was "challenging", the project had the support of both the French and British governments.

We are currently negotiating with the French state to obtain commitments allowing us to secure our financial position. It is clear that I will not engage EDF in this project before these conditions are met. These discussions are ongoing and I am defending our group for the present and especially the future.

– Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman and chief executive of EDF Group

A video produced by EDF energy showing a CGI fly-through over the new Hinkley Point nuclear station.

It follows speculation about the future of the eighteen billion pound nuclear project after the French company's finance director, Thomas Piquemal resigned. He was concerned that the cost of the scheme could jeopardise EDF's future.

Credit: EDF Energy/PA Wire

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the the South West of England described Hinkley as "a disastrous white elephant" and called for it to "give way" to the alternative of renewable energy.

EDF insist they are investing under the 'best possible financial conditions'

EDF have insisted they are investing in Hinkley Point "under the best possible financial conditions".

The statement follows the resignation of the company's finance director Thomas Piquemal, who reportedly quit because of concerns that a final decision about investment for the new reactor will be made too soon - potentially threatening the energy company's financial position.

Thomas Piquemal told me of his resignation last week, which was made public last night. I regret the haste of his departure, and I immediately appointed Xavier Girre to the position of CFO on a provisional basis.

With the support of its shareholder, the state, EDF can confirm that it is looking to invest in two reactors at Hinkley Point under the best possible financial conditions for the Group, with the objective of making a final investment decision in the near future.

– Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF Group CEO and Chairman

UK government 'fully supports' Hinkley Point project

The Hinkley Point C power plant project is projected to cost £18bn Credit: Justin Tallis/PA

The British government "continues to fully support the Hinkley Point C nuclear project", according to the Prime Minister's spokeswoman.

There are doubts about the future of the project after the chief financial officer at EDF, which is a partner with Chinese Group CGN in financing the plan, resigned ahead of a final decision on its investment.

The company said Thomas Piquemal will be replaced by Xavier Girre, who joined EDF last year as chief finance officer for France.

Thomas Piquemal Credit: EDF

Alarm bells should be ringing deafeningly loudly in the offices of the French and UK governments this morning.

The Chief Finance Officer's decision to quit over EDF's apparent commitment to push ahead with the controversial Hinkley nuclear power deal should be of huge concern.

If the finance chief thinks the project will be a disaster, the optimism from both governments that the deal will be imminent is irrational.

The UK Government urgently needs a 21st century plan to boost our home-grown renewable energy which is being sidelined because the Government is focusing on this nuclear white elephant.

– John Sauven, director of Greenpeace

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EDF finance chief quits over Hinkley Point nuclear plant

The chief financial officer of EDF has resigned over the French energy giant's plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

An artist's impression of the how the new Hinkley Point C station will look Credit: PA

Thomas Piquemal quit because of concerns that a final decision on investment for a new reactor will be made too soon, potentially threatening EDF's financial position.

The company, which is 85% owned by the French government, recently made assurances that it was close to making a decision on the proposed Hinkley Point C project in Somerset - which will be the first new nuclear power plant in the UK in decades.

EDF said Mr Piquemal will be replaced by Xavier Girre, who joined EDF last year as chief finance officer for France.

Green MEP attacks Hinkley announcement

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West Credit: PA: Lynne Cameron

The Green MEP for the South West has criticised the government announcement to guarantee £2 billion to underwrite the proposed nuclear electricity generation plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which is due to be built partly with Chinese money.

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, whose constituency Hinkley would be built in and long term critic of Hinkley says it is astonishing the government is "begging for Chinese money".

Wheeling out the Tory spin machine shows the government’s desperation. This is not new money at all. Numerous deadlines for signing this flawed deal have now been missed with French companies facing technological delays and Chinese companies facing financial difficulties.

It is astonishing that the government will go begging the Chinese for money in the middle of a stock market crisis while neglecting our incredible renewable resources in the South West. The Navitus off-shore wind development in Dorset alone would have secured enough energy to power 700,000 homes. There is clearly an ideological pro nuclear, anti-renewables obsession at the heart of government. While this government sees fit to subsidise foreign companies to support an old industry it is deliberately destroying UK companies and undermining investment opportunities for small-scale investors building the energy of the future.

The Tories are snubbing British citizens who have shown their willingness to invest in community renewables and support the clean, green energy of the future with which our country, and particularly the South West, is so richly endowed.

– Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West

Hinkley C plans investigated by EU

The financial deal for a new nuclear power station in Somerset is to be investigated by the European Commission, in a move that could delay.

Under the deal, announced by the Prime Minister last month, Hinkley C will be built by a French company which will receive a guaranteed price for its energy for 35 years - at twice the current level. The commission will investigate whether this complies with European rules on state aid.

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