As the Prime Minister gathered her cabinet to discuss the UK’s departure from Europe, both camps in the Hinkley Point debate seemed keen to draw her attention to the other great conundrum of the summer. Those who fear that Mrs May’s back-stepping on the project stems from a mistrust of Chinese state involvement might have been making a last plea for trade diplomacy before she heads to the G20 summit in Hangzhou this coming weekend.
Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Chief Executive, has been talking to UK media this week, providing assurances of the depth and longevity of the energy company’s relationship with China General Nuclear Power Corporation. He also poured scorn on the suggestion that wind and other sources could be cost-effective alternatives by the time Hinkley Point is due to become operational.
This scepticism was echoed by Justin Bowden of campaigning trade union GMB, who described the claims from the pro-renewables camp as fanciful, and urged the new government to stop procrastinating and give Hinkley Point the go-ahead.
Another union, however, on the other side of the Channel, is steering in the opposite direction. France’s CGT union has revealed that five board members of EDF have now filed a legal challenge, on the basis of inadequate preparatory information prior to the vote. The first court hearing is scheduled for Monday 5 September, just as Mrs May is bidding farewell to her hosts in China.