August 28, 2018 / 7:44 AM / a year ago

EDF up 2 percent as anti-nuclear French energy minister resigns

The logo of Electricite de France SA (EDF) is pictured on the facade of a building in Paris, France, August 5, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in French state-controlled utility EDF rose more than 2 percent in early trading after the anti-nuclear French energy and environment minister Nicolas Hulot resigned.

Hulot, who had repeatedly said that EDF needed to start closing up to a third of its 58 reactors in order to reduce the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation from 75 percent today, said on France Inter radio he had decided to quit as he disagreed with the government’s environmental policies.

“Nuclear energy is a useless folly,” he said on Tuesday.

EDF shares had fallen as much as seven percent on May 17, 2017, the day Hulot was appointed to his post.

Prior to his cabinet appointment, Hulot was a passionate green campaigner and as a minister he repeatedly criticized EDF’s nuclear strategy, calling for the utility to invest more in renewable energy.

President Emmanuel Macron made an election promise to reduce the share of nuclear energy in power generation to 50 percent by 2025, but Hulot late last year had to admit that this pledge could not be kept. A new nuclear plan is set to be announced early next year.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Richard Lough

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