FRENCH National Front leader Marine Le Pen will look for ways of scrapping the Hinkley Point C project by pulling EDF Energy out of the deal if she becomes French President on May 7, it was revealed this week.
Ms Le Pen’s energy advisor Philippe Murer said the right-wing candidate was “fundamentally against” the £18 billion West Somerset nuclear project and was studying EDF’s contract in order to find a loophole which could pull the plug on the deal.
M Murer said: “We will respect the commitment of the French state to build the Hinkley Point power station, but if clauses in the contract allow an exit from this project, we will study them.”
He said that the National Front believed that the Hinkley project would divert resources from the state-controlled EDF at a time when it needed to increase spending to support the struggling French nuclear industry.
M Murer added that EDF also needed to complete a new reactor at Flamanville, in western France.
Local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger told the Free Press that he believed Ms Le Penn’s threat was unrealistic and impossible to achieve without destabilising EDF.
“The current contract is the best for both sides and there is no way it can be dismantled at this stage. The argument has no validity and is just electioneering talk,” he said.
Ms Le Pen was this week lying second in the French opinion polls, just one point behind Emmanuel Macron who was French finance minister at the time the Hinkley deal was agreed.
M Macron has defended the Hinkley Point C development and believes that it will reinvigorate the fortunes of EDF once the plant begins generating power – scheduled for 2026-8.
Another Presidential candidate, Republican Francois Fillon, also backed the Hinkley C project.
He said it would be “extremely complicated” for EDF to pull out of the deal, which he regarded as a cornerstone of Europe’s power supply security, regardless of the UK’s Brexit plans.
Hinkley C is due to provide seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs for 60 years. Under a contract signed last September, the UK Government has guaranteed that Hinkley-generated electricity will be sold at more than double current prices for 35 years.
An EDF spokesman declined to comment on the French Presidential candidates’ remarks.