The government had hoped to make a positive announcement before the summer but it is now looking at the prospect of more months of further talks. A deal, intended by ministers in London to represent a final offer, was put on the table four weeks ago. EDF in Paris, where all the energy company’s decisions are made, has failed to respond. Frustrated by the unwillingness of EDF to engage, the government, which wanted to do a deal and thought an agreement was possible after the last Anglo-French summit in May, has now effectively stepped back and is talking to other possible suppliers. I feel very sorry for the team that EDF has assembled to build a plant in Hinkley, Somerset – a team I think could have done the job on time and on budget. But the government is right. Nuclear is fine as part of the energy mix but not at any price. If others can deliver power at a lower price they should be given a chance. In any case new nuclear is for the medium term, well beyond 2020. The UK can wait and short to medium-term needs can be met by gas. Expect an announcement on that front before the summer. We have not been told why the costs of EDF’s ill-starred plant at Flamanville have risen so high, and why Hinkley rather than benefiting from everything learnt there is now projected to cost even more. We have not been told how the project will be financed. We have not been told why an expensive reactor design is preferable to other cheaper designs which are clearly already working effectively in other countries.