French utility giant Electricité de France has suffered a major setback in its plans to export European Pressurized Reactors to the United States, where the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rejected its subsidiary’s application for a licence to build and operate an EPR reactor in Maryland. With its flagship EPR plant at Flamanville, northern France, suffering recurrent construction delays and overruning costs, the American debacle is a significant blow for both EDF, with debts of almost 40 billion euros, and for EPRs in general. Meanwhile, development of EDF's two EPR projects in the United Kingdom have become bogged down in a row over the true subsidised cost of the energy they will produce. Jade Lindgaard reports.
A Mediapart investigation has revealed that a socialist MP used his parliamentary expenses allowance to pay for family holidays abroad. But his is not an isolated case. Instead, it highlights the near total lack of transparency and control over the way that France's Members of Parliament make use of their generous monthly expenses of more than 6,000 euros. A number of MPs are now calling for greater openness in the allowance system, fearing that an expenses scandal such as the one that hit British MPs in 2009 could engulf them. Meanwhile an anti-corruption organisation warns that an MP who can be shown to have misused their allowances could be prosecuted for misappropriation of public money. Valentine Oberti reports.