The explosion that ripped through an EDF plant at Flamanville last week, injuring five workers, was in a “non-nuclear area”. Thank goodness for that. But the damage it has inflicted on the reputation of France’s nuclear industry is radioactive enough and it could not have come at a more sensitive time. Across the Channel, an army of engineers is starting work on EDF’s new £18 billion nuclear station at Hinkley Point.

Questions persist over the enormous cost of the Hinkley scheme. EDF, the world’s biggest nuclear generator, has brushed aside criticism of the cost and subsidies lavished on the project by pointing to its engineering prowess and record of building and operating nuclear plants. That reputation appears to be unravelling amid a catalogue of problems…….