Texas-based electricity and power generation company VistraOps has received approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to take over the operating licences of Energy Harbor's three NPPs. Vistra is now waiting for a decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on its request for approval of the transaction to finalise the acquisition. Vistra hopes to close the transaction before the end of the year.
Vistra announced in March that it intended to accelerate expansion of its zero-carbon generation portfolio through the purchase of Energy Harbor, including its 4,000 MWe nuclear generation fleet in comprising the Beaver Valley NPP in Pennsylvania and the Davis-Besse, and Perry NPPs in Ohio. Vistra currently operates the Comanche Peak NPP and its used fuel storage facilities, located in Glen Rose, Texas.
"This is an important step in the acquisition process and is evidence of Vistra's strong technical and financial qualifications, as we have demonstrated over the past 30+ years with our Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant," said Jim Burke, Vistra President and CEO. "We are excited about this opportunity to invest in nuclear power, which plays a critical and unique role in our nation's responsible energy transition as a baseload, carbon-free source of power."
NRC staff’s review of the licence transfer application concluded that VistraOps is financially and technically qualified to conduct the activities authorised by the licences. NRC staff also concluded that Vistra satisfies the NRC’s decommissioning funding assurance requirements, and that the facilities are not owned, controlled, or dominated by a foreign entity.
In March, Texas-based Vistra announced a $3.43bn deal to acquire Energy Harbor. The transaction, approved by both companies’ boards of directors, will merge Vistra’s nuclear and retail businesses and its Vistra Zero renewables and storage projects with Energy Harbor’s nuclear and retail businesses under a new subsidiary holding company to be called Vistra Vision.
In July Energy Harbor filed its initial licence renewal application with NRC for the Perry NPP, requesting an additional 20 years of operation for the facility. The original 40-year operating licence for Perry’s 1,273-MWe boiling water reactor expires in November 2026. Beaver Valley’s two pressurised water reactors (PWRs) and the Davis Besse PWR received NRC approval for licence extension in 2009 and 2015. Vistra in October 2022 submitted a licence renewal application for Comanche Peak’s two PWRs. The current operating licences for units 1&2 expire in 2030, and 2033.
Image: Beaver Valley NPP in Pennsylvania (courtesy of Beaver County Times)