France's energy giant EDF confirms finance chief resignation

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Paris (AFP)

French energy giant EDF confirmed on Monday that its finance chief had resigned, a day after a source said he stepped down over a disagreement about a project to build Britain's first new nuclear power plant in decades.

Shares in the energy company plunged shortly after the Paris stock exchange opened Monday, shedding more than eight percent on overall lower trading.

EDF said Thomas Piquemal would be replaced for now by Xavier Girre who is currently finance director for France.

A source close to the matter told AFP on Sunday that Piquemal had presented his resignation last week over "the short-term feasibility" of a plan to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point in southwest England.

The firm agreed in October to construct two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) at Hinkley Point, a third-generation nuclear reactor design, with the state-run China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) taking a one-third stake.

But since then EDF has been putting off announcing a final investment decision on whether to go ahead with the plan, prompting speculation that the project could be delayed.

The company's union representatives have voiced increasing concern over the proposed plant's £18-billion ($25.8-billion, 23.6-million-euro) price tag.