EDF's plans to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset were dealt a fresh blow last night, after a key French union continued to oppose it.
The central works committee said it wouldn't back the project until EDF provides more information. It had previously called for a two to three-year delay amid concerns it will cripple the state-backed firm's already stretched finances.
Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary of the Central Works Committee that EDF is consulting with, told BBC Newsnight that trade unions were unlikely to give their blessing to the project in its current state due to fears about cost.
"We are not reassured by the documents we have received. We have been given a marketing folder, not the full information we require," he said.
"We got the documents on 9 May — we are sending EDF a request for more explanations."
EDF has said that the long-awaited final investment decision would be taken once the non-binding consultation with French unions was complete. The consultation began on 2 May and will last at least 60 days.
The project, a cornerstone of the government’s energy policy, has been beset by concerns over its affordability for EDF and consequent opposition from the French unions. There are also question marks over the viability of the EPR nuclear reactors, brainchild of EDF’s engineering partner Areva.
Earlier this week experts warned that Hinkley has "zero possibility" of being finished by 2025, after EDF's UK boss, Vincent de Rivaz, failed to assure MPs that the French utility giant would be able to meet that deadline.
“I think there’s zero possibility of it being completed by 2025,” Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, told City A.M. “There’s a theoretical possibility it could be completed by 2027, but I wouldn't wish to bet on it. I don't think the secretary of state should either."