Macron ‘gets cold feet’ as EDF rejects Boris’ £700m UK energy plan

GB News: Dan Wootton discusses nuclear energy plan

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Last week, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for the Sizewell C nuclear power plant, saying the Government would invest £700million in the £20billion project. In one of his final acts in office, Mr Johnson said the UK was suffering skyrocketing energy bills as a result of Labour’s failure to invest in nuclear energy. A nuclear reactor like Sizewell C could provide a major boost to Britain’s energy security, which has been battered over the past year as the country’s reliance on gas was punished as the war in Ukraine triggered astronomical price rises.

However, despite the UK’s willingness to go ahead with Sizewell C, reports suggest France has rejected Mr Johnson’s proposal, warning that it won’t be able to build the reactor in the timeframe requested.

A number of sources familiar with the matter have already told Le Figaro, a French publication, that EDF’s board of directors had voted against the Government investment decision negotiated with EDF to build a pair of EPR nuclear reactors at Sizewell.

The topic had reportedly been brought to the table by the EDF’s CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy, but was voted down by a majority of administrators.

Sources told the French paper, that Emmanuel Macron’s government had indicated that it will not implement the Sizewell agreement as agreed, within the planned timetable.

Two sources noted that the French state is waiting for the submission of audit reports.

These in-depth studies carried out by third parties would require several more weeks of work before being finalised.

Another source said: “It was not possible to finish it before Boris Johnson’s departure”.

However, Le Figaro noted that the French state wants to go quickly, as the contract represents more than €1billion of turnover for EDF, and €4.5billion in orders for its industrial subsidiary Framatome.

The financial impact of this agreement on EDF is of particular interest to Mr Macron’s government, which is on the verge of renationalising the energy group.

London was reportedly warned in advance that the French state would postpone validation of the GID at EDF’s board meeting last Wednesday. #

Paris does not seem to fear that this postponement will cause the project to be called into question.

Speaking to, Dr Paul Dorfman, chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group highlighted that this vote was “astonishing” because the company would normally be “leaping” at such a contract.

He said: “Essentially, EDF has turned down Johnson’s offer of a quick sign-on to new nuclear at Sizewell.

“This is actually astonishing because they should be leaping at this and they’re not.

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“It’s probably to do with the money, everybody is now thinking about the money, which nobody has.

“Does EDF have the will, capacity and finance to construct a new nuclear at Sizewell C? Do the French have other priorities?

“The administrators and finance people have voted against it and it’s really odd. Have the French got cold feet?”

EDF has faced a string of financial woes in the past year, leading to it finally being completely nationalised by the French Government.

The company is facing a massive bill as over half of its nuclear reactors are currently offline due to maintenance work or defects.

Critics of nuclear energy have slammed the Government’s decision to invest in Sizewell C.

A spokesperson for Stop Sizewell C said: “If Liz Truss wants to cut green levies on energy bills and avoid being accused of complete hypocrisy, she will have real trouble supporting Boris Johnson’s last-ditch attempts to tie her to Sizewell C.

“This slow, damaging £30billion project can only be financed by adding a nuclear levy to struggling households because the markets won’t touch it without being guaranteed money back during construction.

“The irony is that the government intends to try and re-label nuclear as ‘green’ – which it certainly isn’t – making Liz Truss’s promise even more of a contradiction.”

Dr Dorfman warned that the bitter winter that is expected to arrive this year due to Vladimir Putin’s manipulation of the gas markets could further cause problems for Sizewell C.

He said: “When shit hits the fan this winter, both France and the UK will be saying ‘can we afford this?’

“Not only that, the UK people will be saying ‘excuse me, we can’t pay our energy bills, and now you’re asking us to stump up a supposedly £20bn stake for something we won’t see till 2040.’”

EDF declined to comment on the story.

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