Commentators also raised questions over whether Hinkley would look cheap compared with alternatives such as wind and solar, which the government had argued would cost more.
Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, which represents nuclear workers, said: “This is a deeply worrying report that highlights the lack of accountability and leadership in British nuclear policy.”Dr Robert Gross of Imperial College called the report a “strong reprimand” of the past two governments.
A “slavish devotion” to free markets that ruled out taking a stake and failure to wait for other nuclear projects to bring competition were to blame, he said. “Renewables will become cheap, and this was not anticipated at all. It now looks likely that by the time it is built Hinkley will seem expensive compared to new solar and wind projects.”