• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
EDF finance chief quits over British nuclear plant plan
Hinkley Point. Photo: AFP

EDF finance chief quits over British nuclear plant plan

AFP · 7 Mar 2016, 09:29

Published: 07 Mar 2016 09:29 GMT+01:00

Shares in the energy company plunged shortly after the Paris stock exchange opened on Monday, shedding more than eight percent on overall lower trading. EDF said Thomas Piquemal would be replaced for now by Xavier Girre who is currently finance director for France.

A source close to the matter told AFP on Sunday that Piquemal had presented his resignation last week over "the short-term feasibility" of a plan to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point in southwest England.

According to the same source, Piquemal had not wanted to rush the project at a time when the company's union representatives are voicing increasing concern over the proposed plant's £18-billion ($25.8-billion, 23.6-million-euro) price tag. EDF declined to comment when contacted by AFP.


Thomas Piquemal. Photo: AFP

The firm agreed in October to construct two European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point, a third-generation nuclear reactor design, with the state-run China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) taking a one-third stake.

But since then EDF has been putting off announcing a final investment decision on whether to go ahead with the plan, prompting speculation that the project could be delayed.

EDF said in a statement on Thursday that it was making "every effort" to reach a final investment decisions "in  the near future".

Story continues below…

Opponents have criticized the gigantic Hinkley Point scheme on strategic, environmental and technical grounds. The British government says the plant is essential for meeting Britain's energy security, as most of the country's existing nuclear plants are due to close by 2023. It said last month that "good progress" was being made.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron earlier this week defended the Hinkley Point plan, calling it a "very good investment" for EDF. EDF - Electricite de France (EDF) - is 84.5-percent owned by the French state. It is a major player in the British energy market through a subsidiary.

The company announced in January that it planned to cut five percent of its staff over the next three years -  meaning that some 3,500 jobs will go - as it grapples to respond to increased competition and lower electricity prices.

The group said last month it was also slashing its dividend after unveiling sharply lower annual net profits of 1.19 billion euros, compared with 3.70 billion euros in 2014.

Today's headlines
14,000 pregnant women in France took 'birth defect drug'
Dépakine has been linked to an increased risk of various congenital defects. File photo: AFP

Health authorities have been criticized for their slow reaction to warnings that Dépakine can be dangerous during pregnancy.

How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Photo: AFP

Almost all of France is on a heatwave alert. Here's how to keep cool.

Heatwave warnings extended yet again as France bakes
Photo: AFP

The national weather agency has issued orange alerts to a further 23 départements.

Paris warned about high level of ozone pollution
Photo: AFP

Free parking on Thursday to fight the high pollution levels.

French Muslim body to talk burqini ban with government
Photo: AFP

The French Council of Muslims has called an urgent meeting with the interior minister citing a "fear of stigmatization of Muslims in France".

Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
Be quick - it's a scorcher of a summer in France this year. Photo: AFP

The tastiest way to get through the heatwave.

French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Photo: AFP

French schools will soon be forced to stage simulated attacks in a bid to prepare children for potential terror attacks, among other measures.

French police 'force woman to remove burqini' on beach
A file photo of a woman in a burqini. Photo: AFP

Pictures have emerged showing armed police officers in southern France apparently forcing a woman to remove her burqini.

Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
President Hollande, who hasn't yet announced if he will run, and Nicolas Sarkozy, who is eyeing up the top job next year. Photo: AFP

France is yearning for political renewal, but looks set to be stuck with familiar faces in the presidential race.

Frenchman 'kills Brit in stabbing rampage' in Australia
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman allegedly killed a British woman and stabbed three others in an Australian backpacker's hostel.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
Society
23 subtle signs you'll never quite master French
2,741
jobs available