(Adds further details, background from paragraph 4)
ROME Feb 23 Italy and France will sign on
Tuesday an agreement about collaboration on nuclear power
issues, Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said on
In a statement, Scajola said the agreement, to be signed in
Rome by the leaders of the two nations, "will concern all
aspects of nuclear power, from cooperation at the European level
to security, technological cooperation, training,
decommissioning and industrial cooperation in other countries."
The statement offered no concrete details.
Italian and French press reports said Italy's dominant power
utility, Enel SpA (ENEI.MI), will acquire a 12.5 percent stake
in France's second next-generation EPR nuclear reactor, in a
move linked to the nuclear cooperation agreement.
Enel already owns a 12.5 percent stake in France's first
European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), which is being built at
Flamanville in northwest France and will be operated by French
power giant EDF (EDF.PA).
In turn, EDF could take part in a joint venture with Enel in
Italy to build a nuclear plant, which would be the first plant
since Italy rejected nuclear power in a 1987 referendum after
the Chernobyl disaster.
Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Sunday that a consortium could be
set up with Enel holding a 60 percent stake and EDF the
remaining 40 percent, although the joint venture could also be
opened to other players.
"EDF and Enel are working to broaden their partnership, and
it's going very well," said a French presidential source.
Enel declined to comment on the reports.
(Reporting by Gavin Jones and Yann Le Guernigou; Editing by