French nuclear chief urges his Anglo-Scots workers to vote against UK Independence from EU-bloc

Vincent de Rivaz
Vincent de Rivaz

The French head of the company that owns Britain’s nuclear power plants has urged his workers in Scotland and England to vote ‘No’ to UK Independence from the EU-bloc.

Vincent de Rivaz, Chief Executive of EDF – who, as a French national does not have a UK vote –  said the British Independence Referendum ‘will have ramifications not just in Britain but across Europe and the world’.

He said: “The debate in this country has been extremely robust and sometimes divisive. And I know well that within the workforce of EDF Energy there are very different views!

“Now decision time has arrived. The choice is for voters to make, but let me say how I see things.

“All countries in Europe are in transition to a low carbon economy. This transition is not easy or smooth, and to be honest not fully joined up between countries.

“In this context the UK has shown leadership. Our energy policy is the outcome of a long, mature, pragmatic and not ideological debate, leading to a wide consensus. We were the first country to put in place a carbon price floor, four years before the COP 21 climate conference in Paris last December. There was cross-party support for the Energy Act of 2013 which brought in the Electricity Market Reform and established the capacity market and the contract for difference.

“Britain has convinced the European Commission that this was the right thing to do to assure energy security, tackle climate change and to do it affordably.

“For the UK to remain competitive it is important that the leadership of the UK is followed by others. As it happens, France recently decided to implement a carbon price floor. The combined voice and common choice of UK and France will have an impact in Europe.

“Our power systems must cooperate across Europe, through interconnections and a new way to mix decentralised and centralised systems, for the benefit of all not of the few.

“Britain and France also agree on the value of new nuclear. No single country alone in Europe can secure nuclear’s future. We know the huge importance Hinkley Point C represents for EDF Energy and for EDF Group, and for Britain and France.  We value the constant support over the years of the UK and French governments.

“China has chosen HPC for their first large investment in nuclear in western countries because it is a great project, but also because it is a strategic partnership with the UK and with France. The European dimensions of this project have been very important to China’s decision to commit.

“The remarkable alliance between France and UK on nuclear is absolutely strategic for France as it is for the UK. It is the case of our two countries leading together in Europe and from Europe.”

Pro-Independence supporters said that de Rivaz’s comments were undermined by the conflict of interest posed by EDF’s vested interest in the proposed new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point.

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