Greenpeace activists entered Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant on 7 July and projected images of a ‘crack’ forming on reactor one. Greenpeace is calling on François Hollande to close Tricastin, one of the five most dangerous facilities in France.

 The European Commission is facing controversy over plans to change existing rules and allow member states to provide direct state aid to nuclear power.

The plans leaked to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and seen by Greenpeace are fiercely opposed by some member states, including Germany and Austria.

The proposal, drawn up by the Commission’s services for competition policy could be opposed by several European Commissioners, including the influential German Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who has so far remained silent on the issue.

In a submission to a consultation by the European Commission, the German Government described an earlier draft of the plans as "not acceptable".

The problem - for Germany - is that the plans would put new renewable technologies at a disadvantage by placing them on an equal footing with older, established technologies.

“Germany opposes renewables to be put on equal footing with other low-carbon technologies, in particular when it is about nuclear power,” says the German submission.

"On the basis of current knowledge, the German government sees no need for economic support of nuclear power. We believe it is important that different technologies be treated differently," it continues.

The submission also raised concerns over the wider costs of nuclear power, such as the liability for accidents, suggesting it is hard to fully quantify these in any state support.

Germany is committed to phasing out its nuclear power plants and wants to get all of its power from renewable sources by 2050 and the leak is likely to become an issue in the forthcoming elections.

It is understood the draft proposals were not due to be published until the end of September. The German federal election will be held on 22 September.

The Commission plans are likely to be strongly supported by the UK and France.

Any deal between the UK government and French state-owned firm EDF for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, in south-west England, is likely to classify as state aid and require approval from Brussels.

Even if the guidelines pass, the UK may struggle to show any deal with EDF was subject to a transparent and competitive tender - as suggested in the draft document.

For more information on the Commission plan, please see: European Commission attempts to open door for subsidies to nuclear energy