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UPDATE 2-GE, EDF in talks over possible sale of operations in France

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(Adds French finance minister comments, shares)

PARIS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - General Electric Co. is in preliminary talks with EDF over the possible sale of GE Steam Power's nuclear activities in France, the two energy firms said on Wednesday.

"There is no certainty regarding the outcome of this work and of these exploratory discussions," EDF said in a statement sent to Reuters.

"EDF is currently analysing conditions under which the interests of the EDF Group would be best served."

GE is EDF's main supplier of steam turbines and electrical components for nuclear power plants such as France's Flamanville-3 and Britain's Hinkley Point C.

The U.S. firm acquired Alstom's power and grid business in 2015 and builds Arabelle steam turbines used in nuclear plants at a former Alstom plant in eastern France.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire welcomed a possible deal.

"It shows our support to nuclear power and our will to reinforce our national (energy) independence", Le Maire told a media conference held after a weekly cabinet meeting.

EDF's shares were up 1.34% around 1200 GMT in Paris, slightly outperforming the CAC 40 blue-chip index which was up 1.13% and versus a flat Stoxx Europe 600 Utilities index. (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jason Neely)

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