James Barbour’s round-up: Hinkley Point, EU negotiations and Trump

Hinkley Point
By James Barbour, Director, Technical Policy

29 July 2016

James Barbour, Director, Technical Policy, outlines his thoughts on some of the key events of the week.

As someone who worked briefly in the nuclear power industry earlier in my career, I was paying close attention to developments in relation to the proposed construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. 

The UK Government’s announcement to delay a decision on whether this project should go ahead, certainly surprised many. What of course is of great interest is what are the reasons for this delay?

Potential reasons (not an exhaustive list) include:

  • The economic feasibility of the project;
  • Potential fallout from the EU referendum vote;
  • Doubts over whether nuclear energy is the best option;
  • The possibility of delays which have occurred in other similar projects; and
  • Potential safety considerations.

As this decision will have a major impact on the UK’s future energy needs, I await with interest the decision which is now due to be announced in the autumn.

Also making the news was the announcement that Michel Barnier will lead the European Commission negotiations on Brexit. 

This is not an appointment that will be welcomed in the UK following his track record in matters relating to audit and financial services. 

It will be interesting to watch once these negotiations get underway but I am not convinced that his appointment is in the interests of either side. 

My recent article on trade illustrated the strong ties that exist between the UK and its fellow EU member states. 

It is absolutely in everyone’s interests for such strong relations to continue to exist once the UK exits the EU.

Lastly, has US Presidential candidate Donald Trump finally gone too far? 

His call for a foreign nation to hack the emails of his opponent have certainly been seen in some quarters as overstepping the mark. 

Ultimately, we will need to wait and see whether his latest outburst reflects negatively on the minds of the US voters or whether they will be Russian to the polls to vote for him come November.

Image credit: jgolby / Shutterstock.com


  • Political landscape
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