Image: EDF Energy Image: EDF Energy

The finance director of energy giant EDF has resigned over concerns that the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant would compromise the company's financial strength.

EDF confirmed that Thomas Piquemal stepped down ahead of the final investment decision, which is expected soon.

The £18 billion project is likely to supply roughly 7% of the UK's entire electricity needs by 2025.

Mr Piquemal's resignation follows that of the project's director, Chris Bakken, who last month said he was leaving to pursue other opportunities. Hinkley Point has repeatedly been delayed, but EDF has always publicly said a decision to move forward is imminent.

However, it is understood that the energy firm is struggling to find the cash to pay for three-quarters of the project. In October, it agreed a deal with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) that saw the Chinese company take on a 33.5% stake in order to pay for a third of the overall costs. Reports suggest that EDF could ask the French government, which already owns nearly 85% of the energy company, for support.

Hinkley Point was due to open in 2017, but now there is no clear date in sight for launch.