AS much as many local organisations have been lured by French government-owned EDF into collaborating with and welcoming its construction of Hinkley C new nuclear power station, the extremely chequered life of this enormous project since its approval in 2008 could well now have reached a downturn too far.

Apart from unique controversial storage of high-level radioactive waste on site, it’s complex financial status now hovers between being too costly to cancel and too hopeless a deal for both electricity consumers and Tory government to continue with: nearly all experts and industrial commentators describing it as an epic financial disaster.

Like the mess made of Brexit, we have Tory hard-right nuclear zealots for bombs and power, abetted by Labour’s surprise collaboration because of union jobs’ pressures, not only re-propagating nuclear power when it looks past history (via big technological advances and cost reductions in renewable energy, especially offshore wind), but also repeating nonsensical lobby-fodder from EDF that nuclear must remain in our energy mix as base-load to keep the lights on.

This nuclear tipping point has become more stark just now by the withdrawal of two Japanese giants - Toshiba and Hitachi – from equally big nuclear projects at Moorside in Cumbria and Wylfa on Anglesey, both scrapped after much progress and expenditure, plus public funds subsidy offers.

These Japanese fiascos – exaggerated by Brexit - now place Tory energy policy in ruins, worsened by embarrassing facts that flagship Hinkley C, the only new station being built, is 10 years behind schedule with huge cost overruns in its latest £20.3 billion construction estimate – permitted only because government negotiating idiots agreed to pay vastly inflated prices for its eventual electricity, guaranteed for 35 years!

Details of this contract makes consumers pay inflation-proofed £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity at 2012 prices for 35 years, translating into some £108.00/MWh today. If we assume that today’s market price (about £45/MWh) persists for the period of the contract, Hinkley would add about £52 billion to consumers’ bills and considerably help recover EDF’s and France’s present perilous economic plights.

With Hinkley C’s construction proper not starting until June, surely cancellation now costing a few billions, saving consumers £1.5 billion per year for 35 years from 2027, must be the only rational way forward?

Yes, another test for Tory competence?