A BOARD member at French energy firm EDF has called for plans to build a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset to be put off.

Christian Taxil, who represents the CFE-CGC union on the board, has said he will vote against the French energy company's reactor scheme in the latest sign of discontent at the top of EDF.

He said conditions were "not right" for the £18bn project and that a raft of changes to the scheme agreed over the past three years significantly raised the risk for EDF. He said a pledge to commission the plant within 72 months of concrete being poured was “not credible”.

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HeraldScotland: An artist's impression of Hinkley Point C

An artist's impression of Hinkley Point C

The same union has previously suggested that investment in Hinkley Point C should be delayed until 2019.

It said there were problems with a similar reactor design in France.

Mr Taxil, the first EDF board member to go public with his concerns, added: “Today I can only say that the conditions do not exist for me to give a positive opinion if such a project was submitted to me.”

HeraldScotland:

Last week, French economy minister Emmanuel Macron (above) said EDF would now make a final investment decision on the Hinkley Point nuclear reactor in early May.

In a letter to EDF employees, Mr Taxil said EDF's weak financial position, technical issues and the current state of the energy market were all factors that had influenced him.

It has also emerged that some EDF engineers have expressed renewed doubts about the reactor technology.

In a leaked internal company document, leaked to the Financial Times, they argued that a redesign was needed in order to make the plant less complex and less expensive.

Instead of pledging that the plant would be operational in 2025, they said, the company should adopt a more "realistic" date of 2027.

EDF issued a statement denouncing "unfounded rumours and fanciful stories".

The firm added: "EDF refutes these rumours and confirms that the date of first operation of the first reactor is fixed at the end of 2025 and that no delay is anticipated.

"EDF regards this anonymous press campaign as seriously harmful to our interests, as well as the interests of the industry and to jobs in France and Europe."