After a decade of debate about the controversial £18bn project, the EDF board approved the project by 10 votes to seven, according to reports in Paris (Note: the decision has since been updated).

The UK government, which has backed the project heavily, will welcome EDF’s commitment as a vote of confidence in the economy after the country voted to leave the EU in June.

The construction of Hinkley Point C will create an estimated 25,000 jobs, with completion scheduled for 2025. It will provide 7% of Britain’s electricity, enough power for six million homes, for almost 60 years.

There was, however, another twist to the contentious project in the run-up to the meeting when an EDF director opposed to the project resigned.

Gérard Magnin said it was “very risky” in his resignation letter to EDF’s chief executive.

Magnin did not attend the board meeting in Paris on Thursday where EDF’s remaining 17 directors voted. His resignation follows that of EDF’s chief financial official, Thomas Piquemal, earlier this year, which was also linked to concerns about the cost of Hinkley Point C.

Their resignations and the narrow margin in the vote highlights the split created in the company by the project.

John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace, called the project “terrible value for money” for British families but said it had become “too big to fail” for politicians.

“This deal was more riven with dissension in the EDF board than anyone expected. It’s unprecedented division and far closer than predicted.” he said.

“Countless experts have warned that for British families this power station will be terrible value for money. This is a bitter pill to swallow for hard up people who have been told that the government is trying to keep bills down while dealing with energy security and lowering carbon emissions.

“Today’s decision doesn’t prove the UK is open for business post Brexit. It just shows the Hinkley deal became too big to fail in the eyes of British and French politicians.”

Graham Ruddick

This article first appeared in the Guardian

edie is part of the Guardian Environment Network

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