Bouncing out of Hinkley Point

It was fortuitous that Theresa May fell into the empty slot of becoming Prime Minister just in time to prevent the junketings that were planned for the signing of the contract for the construction of the EDF’s reactor at Hinkley Point. Had they gone ahead it would have immediately become a member of the “Too Big to Fail” brigade — just like our four grossly over-large retail banks — and kept alive with large amounts of taxpayers’ money for years to come whatever its failings and overruns.

And these — the failings and overruns — are inevitable because the technology involved is far from being fully developed, as we know from the long delays in building similar reactors in Normandy and in Finland. I thought originally — a few postings back — that May was making a gesture against the state-supported, trade union-run, semi-bankrupt, EDF.

But no, it is said that she didn’t like to see so much additional Chinese funding in the project. Will China be able to wheedle its way into our electronic security systems? Hardly. In any case, China — like Russia, America, and ourselves probably — will have expert hackers who are already doing that sort of thing as their normal official day job.

On reflection, I think she’s delayed proceedings in order to have time to look at the proposal in the round, and to consider alternatives. This is something Hinkley Point has simply not had so far. This is a multi-billion pound project which has been whisked through with highly suspicious celerity so far. We were being bounced into it.

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