The Times, 3 June 2020

Britain needs economic ties with China, but doesn’t need it to build Sizewell

[Extract] “As radioactive projects go, little beats Sizewell C: the nuclear monstrosity planned for the Suffolk coast. Already, the sirens are going off on economic and environmental grounds. But it’s the post-pandemic politics that give this scheme an extra Ready Brek glow. And, specifically, around Britain’s relations with China…

Of course, Britain needs economic ties with China. But for vital infrastructure? Sir Iain Duncan Smith gets lots of things wrong. But the ex-Tory leader is right on this: Sizewell is “the next Huawei”. The PM’s decision to give the Chinese telecom group a limited role in our 5G network is already jeopardising talks over a US trade deal. And, even if the man proving himself unfit to be US president loses the election, the Huawei problem may not go away. Sizewell adds a fresh complication.

And for what? A nuclear plant that shouldn’t be built anyway. How many examples does the government need that big nuclear reactors, with their guaranteed cost overruns and vast clean-up bills are last millennium technology? Hinkley itself? France’s Flamanville? Finland’s Olkiluoto? Toshiba blowing itself up with Westinghouse? Fukushima? Centrica failing to find a buyer for its stakes in existing plants?

…Instead, Britain is sizing up Sizewell: a project toxic on just about every level. The planning application went in last month. Boris should save everyone the trouble and can it now.”