French ruling Socialist party says Hinkley Point doubts must be cleared up

Men work at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site near Bridgwater in Britain, August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The ruling Socialist Party of French President Francois Hollande said on Monday the Hinkley Point nuclear project in Britain is a risk to the survival of state-owned utility EDF and that all doubts about the project must be cleared up before it continues.

The party, which has traditionally been pro-nuclear, said in a statement on its website that the utility’s decision to go ahead with the 18 billion pound ($23 billion) project was a cause for concern.

“The Socialist Party believes that a project that is so important that it could jeopardize the solidity and survival of the national energy company requires that all doubts and hesitations be cleared up before the project continues,” the party said.

It added that it was convinced that the state would do all it can to achieve this aim.

A deeply divided EDF board approved the Hinkley Point project with a narrow 10-7 majority on July 28. Hours later, the British government – which had been expected to sign the contracts the next day - said it needed more time to consider the project and would decide in the autumn.

EDF’s unions are all against the project and the company’s finance director and one of its board members have resigned over it.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Michel Rose