Newspaper headlines: Nuclear power station, airport alcohol and Gobi the dog

The long-running deliberations over the Hinkley Point nuclear power station and a suggestion by the new aviation minister that he will look at the sale of alcohol at airports make the front pages.

EDF's board has now approved most of the £18bn funding needed - but the government says it will postpone a final decision until the autumn.

This sudden development caught many by surprise, including some of the papers, whose headlines changed after the news broke.

The Guardian's early edition ran the front-page headline proclaiming the project had the "go-ahead", while the i's first front page ran with the headline "nuclear fallout" when announcing the deal for the "country's first new nuclear power station for a generation".

The Guardian's newspaper editorial added that the "technology is too uncertain, and the scale is too large".

But the paper's online version of the news story, changed to reflect the later doubt over the government's position, says that, according to French energy giant EDF, company directors approved Hinkley Point C by just 10 votes to seven, after a decade of debate about the controversial project.

Household costs

The i's online story later ran a different headline to its paper counterpart, explaining how the UK government had delayed the deal.

It also continued to point out how, if it were to go ahead, it would be at an estimated cost of £37 per household a year.

The Times says that in a surprise move Energy Secretary Greg Clark said he needed until September to study the subsidy contract.

The newspaper continues: "Government sources downplayed suggestions of a U-turn, highlighting Mr Clark's more positive statements about the project last week.

"Ministers including Philip Hammond, the chancellor, had previously signalled support for the deal. Nevertheless, EDF officials pulled out of morning broadcast interviews over Mr Clark's announcement.

Image copyright EDF/PA
Image caption Ministers have delayed a final decision on Hinkley Point C nuclear power station

"Industry sources also played down the importance of the delay, suggesting that EDF's approval had come earlier than expected. However, it is likely to unnerve the French company, which approved the project last night after a heated debate.

"Seven of the company's 18 directors voted against the plan, with another resigning in protest over fears that it could cripple the power giant."

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Clark said the government would now "consider carefully all the component parts of this project and make its decision in the early autumn".

The Financial Times noted that successive governments have supported the scheme but Prime Minister Theresa May has never given it her personal backing.

"Mrs May met French President Francois Hollande last week, during which the pair discussed the project," says the FT. "One person said the scheme was expected to proceed after the review but conceded that the delay had not been expected."


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Wrong project, wrong price

In analysis, the Times says: "When Britain switched on the world's first civil nuclear power station, at Calder Hall in Cumbria in 1956, engineers promised that it would herald a new era of 'electricity too cheap to meter'.

"At £18bn, EDF's project to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point will certainly not meet that promise, saddling consumers with a 35-year subsidy bill that could exceed £30bn.

"Hinkley's colossal price tag stems from the confused way Britain has gone about a revival of nuclear power.

"The mistakes began in the 1960s when UK scientists headed down a technological cul-de-sac, developing an advanced gas-cooled reactor that the rest of the world ignored.

"In the 1970s and 80s, it was the booming North Sea oil industry that diverted investment and focus from nuclear power."

Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph says that Brexit offered the perfect chance to cancel Hinkley Point - but the UK has given in to France and China.

He writes: "Every cloud has a silver lining, and for Remainers such as me, one potential upside of Brexit was that it might finally bury that Franco-Chinese folie de grandeur-by-sea, Hinkley Point C.

"There are much better solutions to Britain's looming energy shortfall - gas as a stop-gap, smaller, more affordable nuclear power stations from Japan, and further out, the development of 'small modular nuclear reactors', a promising technology where Britain could excel again.

"Let's trade with France, China and the rest of the world by all means. But it is a great mistake to mortgage our future to them in the endeavour."

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Media captionMiranda Green, of the Financial Times, and Daily Telegraph political correspondent Laura Hughes, join the BBC News Channel to review Friday's front pages.

Damian Carrington in the Guardian comments that the new nuclear reactors now given the go-ahead at Hinkley Point have failed every test bar the one that finally mattered - political expediency.

In a leading article, the Times declares there is "No Point" in Hinkley.

"The decision is the wrong one for British consumers, Britain's energy infrastructure and for the company itself," it says.

"As part of a sensible overhaul of this country's energy strategy for the next half-century, taking into account fast-changing renewable technologies that could render fossil fuels obsolete within a generation, Hinkley Point needs to be scrapped."


Chilled fino

The Telegraph leads on new aviation minister Lord Ahmad saying that he wants to look at the sale of alcohol at airports.

The paper says: "His comments came as airlines, retailers, police and airports announced a crackdown on 'disruptive' passengers which will see unruly travellers forced to pay for damage they cause as well the cost of any delays and diversions resulting from their behaviour.

"The worst offenders will face travel bans, while airlines have vowed to take steps to stop people from drinking duty-free alcohol on board aircraft.

It continues: "There is mounting concern about 'air rage' after a rise in cases of mid-flight disruption, some of which have led to emergency landings."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Ahmad says he will look at the way alcohol is sold at airports

The Times says a pre-fight alcoholic drink could soon be consigned to history, a victim of the rising number of hen and stag parties causing chaos on flights.

The paper says Lord Ahmad's warning follows a spate of incidents involving drunken passengers disrupting other travellers and causing trouble for air crews.

The Mail says it would herald a "determined blitz" on unruly behaviour caused by too much alcohol.

"Bad behaviour must indeed be quashed," comments the Telegraph, "but do allow the rest of us a chilled fino as the holiday dawns."

However, the Department for Transport later said there were "no plans to specifically address the issue of alcohol at airports".


Dog tag

Finally, the Times has the heartwarming tale of Gobi the stray dog who refused to leave the side of Dion Leonard for 78 miles of a week-long ultra-marathon event.

The terrier attached herself to Mr Leondard on the Gobi Desert stage of the four-deserts race series in China.

Mr Leonard tells the Times: "Nobody knew where Gobi came from. The nearest village to the start line was three to five miles away.

"She could've had rabies, but as the week went on I fell in love with her. She basically had me wrapped around her little finger.

"She's a fast dog. If anything she was the pace-setter. The two days she didn't run with me, my times were slower."

Now, Mr Leonard hopes to raise £5,000 for care, quarantine and transport so Gobi can live with him in Edinburgh.