The second example of Thorp and its pounds 9bn-worth of orders is also misleading. The contracts for Thorp were agreed many years ago when plutonium was thought to be an asset rather than a liability. Customers have been locked into cost-plus contracts and have faced large cost increases.
It is an inappropriate time to extol the virtues of nuclear exports given the alarming news of plutonium smuggling in Europe. But even if the increasing concerns about nuclear proliferation are set aside, Mr Hayes should not be surprised at the erosion of confidence in the British nuclear industry, given its history of cost overruns, delays and promises unmatched by performance.
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