Electricite de France SA will delay the final decision on whether to proceed with an 18 billion-pound ($26 billion) nuclear power plant in the U.K. by several months, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy decided to push back the decision, previously scheduled to be taken by May, in order to consult with employees, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Labor unions threatened Thursday to take the company to court if workers are not consulted.
There has been speculation about the future of the Hinkley Point plant since EDF’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal resigned last month, saying it would put the company under too much financial strain. While French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, who backs the project, said the government would re-capitalize the company if needed, some workers remained opposed.
The final decision has been repeatedly delayed amid doubts over the viability of the project, even as the utility formed a partnership with China General Nuclear Power Corp. and secured guaranteed power prices from the U.K. government at about twice the current market rate for 35 years. EDF’s finances have been strained by falling power prices and rising competition, which threaten the future earnings needed to fund a 50 billion-euro ($56 billion) program to renovate its fleet of French reactors by 2025.