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7 times the UK press condemned Hinkley nuclear plant

Posted by Alexandra Stenbock-Fermor - 22nd August 2016

For a brief moment last month, it looked like the Somerset coast was destined to become the home of the most expensive object in the world — Hinkley Point nuclear plant.

But after a last minute intervention by Prime Minister Theresa May, the government’s nuclear ambitions were suddenly put on hold.

In the run up to the decision, Hinkley was almost unanimously condemned by the British press. So in case you missed it at the time, here’s a quick look at what’s been said.

1. The Economist

Earlier this month, an editorial published in The Economist argued that Hinkley “looks extraordinarily bad value for money” — and went on to cast doubt on if the nuclear plant will work at all. The same article stated that Hinkley’s enormous cost and the growing role of alternatives on the energy market mean that “[o]ne of the few certainties is that Hinkley is not the sort of power station that any rich country will want for much longer”.

2. The Telegraph

Given the colossal sums of money involved in building and maintaining Hinkley nuclear plant, The Telegraph praised Theresa May’s cautiousness. It also called Hinkley Point a “white elephant” because of the costs it will impose on taxpayers.

3. The Financial Times

As far back as four years ago, The Financial Times was reporting that the lights were dimming on the UK’s nuclear plans. But in more recent months, the FT has become more forthright in its criticism. Back in February, the newspaper ran an editorial which stated that “the case for halting Hinkley Point C is becoming hard to refute.”

4. The Daily Mail

Even the Daily Mail, a newspaper which isn’t exactly known for backing sustainable energy, has become an outspoken critic of Hinkley. Two weeks ago, the newspaper ran a strongly-worded comment piece, suggesting that Hinkley’s nuclear reactor will be “riddled with nightmarish problems.”

5. The Independent

In an editorial published last month, The Independent expressed caution on how the UK would become heavily dependent on China, if Hinkley is built. It also points to the bad deal for taxpayers and the low profitability of the project, arguing that: “nuclear power may well be a central component of our future energy needs – but not at any cost”.

6. The Guardian

Wrong project, wrong price” is how the Guardian titled its recent editorial about Hinkley nuclear plant. And aside from just criticising the project, Damian Carrington – the newspaper’s environment editor – has gone on to publish a list of the options the government should be backing instead.

7. The Times

And last but not least, this piece in The Times – ‘No Point in Hinkley’ – points out the many technical problems faced by similar nuclear reactors that are under construction (and also suffering huge delays) in other countries. The article argues that, while Hinkley suffers more and more setbacks, the case for spending billions on the nuclear plant becomes more difficult to justify: “to proceed with Hinkley Point C instead is to be held hostage to a design that is outdated before it is built.”

So there we have it — seven of the UK’s most popular newspapers and magazines, seven damning reports. Have you read any similar articles in recent weeks too? Let us know in the comments below.

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Article Tagged as: Energy, Featured, hinkley point

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