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Italy's Enel to Take Stake in EDF

Italian electricity company Enel reached a deal on Friday with Electricite de France, giving it a stake in France's nuclear program and immediate access to energy capacity. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The agreement, sealed during a France-Italy summit in the southern French city of Nice, sees the Italian power group taking a 12.5 percent stake in France's third-generation EPR pressurized water reactor being built in Flamanville, northern France.

Enel said the 1,600 megawatt facility should be operational in 2012 after an investment of $5.31 billion.

The program could lead to the construction of an additional five new-generation nuclear power stations, on which Enel said it has options.

As an advance on the EPR capacity, energy-hungry Italy gets immediate access to France's baseload capacity. Enel said it will get 600 megawatts in 2008, increasing to 1,200 megawatts in 2012.

In exchange, EDF gets access to Enel's new power plants in Europe and the Mediterranean basin.

The agreement was signed in the presence of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

The deal signed Friday has been stalled for the past two years as both countries bristled as the other's forays into its energy market. A preliminary accord was signed in May 2005.