Five of the 17 board members who voted to approve a decision by EDF to press ahead with the development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in England are now seeking a court annulment of that decision.
The board members, all union representatives, say they were not provided with information that was crucial to their decision on the day.
The sticking point is, they said, that Jean Bernard Ley, the company’s CEO was privy to information about the UK government’s intention to delay their decision on the project, and this was not shared with the board prior to the vote
The board voted 10 to 7 in favour of the £18bn project late last month to build two reactors in Somerset, England. One board member resigned in protest against EDF’s strategy.
“Some board members discovered they did not benefit from the same level of information as the CEO and government representative,” the CGT, CFE-CGC and FO unions said in a statement. The CFDT union did not sign the statement.
Shortly after the board meeting, the UK announced that it had postponed its final decision until early autumn to allow time for further review.
FT reports that law firm Alain Levy, which represents the five union board members, said on Wednesday that it had filed a complaint with the Paris commercial court, adding that the case would be heard on September 5. EDF declined to comment.
EDF have acknowledged that Levy knew a signing ceremeony scheduled for the project site on the day after the board meeting had been postponed but the company maintain that he did not know a full review of the project would take place.
Insiders said UK Prime Minister Theresa May had informed French President Francois Hollande a week prior to the board meeting and again a day before the meeting, but it is not known if the nature and extent of this delay was communicated the delay to Mr Levy.
The project, whose proponents say can bring a renaissance in nuclear engineering to the UK, has been dogged by controversy. The main concerns are a guaranteed long term electricity price perceived to be too high in some quarters, and the nature of China’s involvement in the country’s power infrastructure. Along with that are other issues such as legal challenges from other EU member states and the fact that the European Pressurised Reactor technology to be used has not yet been proven.
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