Vistra Corp. Seeks to Add 20 Years to Nuclear Power Plant’s Life with License Renewal

Comanche Peak began operating in 1990 in Somervell County south of Dallas and the license renewals to extend operations of its two units until 2053. "Comanche Peak is one of the lowest-cost and highest-performing nuclear power plants in the country and is a large, dispatchable source of carbon-free electricity," the company's CEO said.

Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant has been generating nuclear electric power for more than 30 years, and this week Irving-based Vistra Corp. announced that it has applied for license renewals with Nuclear Regulatory Commission to keep the plant operating through 2053.

“Comanche Peak is one of the lowest-cost and highest-performing nuclear power plants in the country and is a large, dispatchable source of carbon-free electricity,” said Jim Burke, president and CEO of Vistra. “Renewing the licenses of this plant is critical for grid reliability and our environment and is a benefit to the economy, the local community, and our company.”

Vistra said the renewals would extend the plant’s life more than 20 years beyond the original licenses for Luminant’s plant in Somervell County. The current licenses for units 1 and 2 extend through 2030 and 2033, respectively. The company is applying to renew the licenses through 2050 and 2053, respectively.

The two-unit nuclear plant has a capacity of 2,400 MW – enough to power about 1.2 million Texas homes in normal conditions and 480,000 homes in periods of peak demand. The company said that since it began operating in 1990, Comanche Peak has generated more than 582 million megawatt-hours of reliable, emission-free electricity.

“Our country is navigating a massive transition to cleaner sources of electricity, and at the same time, we cannot lose sight of reliability. Nuclear energy is uniquely positioned to provide that balance of emission-free power and always-on baseload capabilities,” Burke said. “Our team stands ready to continue a proud tradition of safety, dependability, and operational excellence at Comanche Peak, and we are excited to be filing this application for extension.”

Vistra said has taken a leading role in the energy transition with Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant at the center of Vistra Zero, its zero-carbon generation portfolio.

With a robust pipeline of development projects, Vistra said it expects to have at least 7,300 MW of zero-carbon generation online by 2026 across Texas, California, and Illinois. Vistra said that it is committed to a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to a 2010 baseline, and said it has already achieved more than 72 percent of that target.

Comanche Peak long has had a major economic impact on Sovervell and surrounding counties located south of Dallas-Fort Worth. The power plant is about 83 miles south of Dallas.

The nuclear power plant is operated by more than 600 employees and more than 200 permanent contractors, Vistra said. Refueling outages for the two reactors, which routinely occur four times over a three-year period, require supplemental workers and bring in anywhere from 800-1,200 skilled technicians from across the nation, the company said.

Those contractors are a source of substantial additional economic activity for hotels, restaurants, and related businesses in the area, Vistra said.

The plant pays more than $30 million a year in state and local taxes and is the largest taxpayer in Somervell County. Additionally, Comanche Peak donates thousands of dollars to community organizations, funds environmental protection programs, and takes part in civic engagement activities in both Somervell and Hood counties.

Vistra is a Fortune 500 integrated retail electricity and power generation company that combines an innovative, customer-centric approach to retail with safe, reliable, diverse, and efficient power generation, the company said in a statement. It brings its products and services to market in 20 states and the District of Columbia, including six of the seven competitive wholesale markets in the nation.

It serves roughly 4 million residential, commercial, and industrial retail customers with electricity and natural gas. Vistra is one of the largest competitive electricity providers in the country and offers over 50 renewable energy plans. Vistra also is the largest competitive power generator in the nation with a capacity of roughly 39,000 megawatts powered by a diverse portfolio, including natural gas, nuclear, solar, and battery energy storage facilities.

Vistra also is a large purchaser of wind power, and it owns and operates the 400-MW/1,600-MWh battery energy storage system in Moss Landing, California, the largest of its kind in the world.

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