The owners of 13 reactors at seven nuclear power plants located Texas, California, Arizona, and Kansas last week formalized an alliance that they say would “leverage the strengths” of their plants and collaboratively focus on improving their operational, regulatory, and financial performances. Chief nuclear officers of the seven plants formally signed and agreed to the formation of a limited liability company, the STARS Alliance LLC. 

The alliance’s seven members are: the Callaway Energy Center in Missouri, the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant and South Texas Nuclear Operating Co. in Texas, the Diablo Canyon Power Plant and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in California, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona, and the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp. in Kansas. 

Those plants’ 13 reactors represent 16 GW of generating capacity and are all Westinghouse pressurized water reactors within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Region IV with license expiration dates that are at least 12 years away. The alliance will be based in Goodyear, Ariz. 

The alliance says on its website that efforts to create the organizational structure independent of the Utilities Service Alliance (USA)—a nonprofit cooperative designed to facilitate collaboration among its reactor-owning member utilities—began in June 2011. “One of the main reasons for the decision was that coordinating efforts among the seven STARS stations was considered optimal versus the combined STARS/USA structure of 17 stations,” STARS said. 

“There are several examples of the value of forming an alliance to enable single station companies to join forces and increase their influence and effectiveness,” the alliance said. “One of the most successful STARS initiatives is the Plant Aging Management Center of Business, which has enabled STARS members to pursue and obtain license renewal in a very cost-effective and efficient manner.” 

Jim Becker, who serves as site vice president at Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon facility and has more than 30 years of industry experience, joined STARS as its first president. "Today, we have completed the final steps necessary to establish STARS as a stand-alone organization," Becker said. "We are excited about the opportunity to leverage the strengths of our seven stations with a focus on improving overall performance. Our primary focus will be on initiatives and information sharing that benefit all member companies."

The Department of Justice in July formally approved the alliance’s efforts to establish a limited liability corporation. 

Sources: POWERnews, STARS, NRC

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)