EDF's call for funding to help nuclear compete with wind casts doubt on commercial strength of sector

Government plans for a new wave of nuclear power stations have been called into question after EDF's UK boss called for financial help from the state.

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of the French energy giant's British subsidiary, told the Financial Times there must be a “level playing field” to make nuclear as attractive to investors as heavily subsidised wind power.

The government has so far insisted that Britain's next fleet of nuclear reactors can be built without extra help from the government.

Nuclear plant
EDF plans to build at least four new reactors in the UK

But de Rivaz, whose firm has said it plans to build at least four new reactors in the UK, said investors would still need convincing that investment in the sector made commercial sense.

He said: "We have a final investment decision to make in 2011 and, for that decision to give the go-ahead, the conditions need to be right."

The best way to support the industry would be to ensure penalties on other fossil-fuel power generators under the EU emissions trading scheme were high enough to make investment in nuclear attractive, he said.