Italian energy company Enel has teamed up with France’s EDF to develop nuclear energy in Italy, the companies said in a joint statement.

The companies described the move ‘as the first substantial step’ toward establishing nuclear plants in Italy following the approval of a law last month allowing a return to nuclear energy more than two decades after the country’s reactors were shut down.

The new Enel/EDF joint venture, called Italy Nuclear Development, will run feasibility studies for the construction of at least four nuclear reactors.

Other companies can then build and operate the plants.

The reactors would be the so-called third generation European Pressurised Reactor or EPR variety, which is eventually meant to replace aging reactors around the world.