The owner/operator of the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant — Luminant Generation Company LLC – told us that its parent company, Energy Future Holdings (EFH), has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 provides time for a business to sort out its financial problems.
This is not the first time an action like this has involved a nuclear plant. The owner of the Diablo Canyon plant went through a bankruptcy in 2001, and, in the 1980s, the Seabrook plant went through a similar process.
The NRC has been actively monitoring the situation since EFH told the Securities and Exchange Commission last year it may have difficulties meeting debt obligations. NRC staff has looked at any potential impacts on plant safety and security, the decommissioning fund, and the implementation of post-Fukushima action items. We determined the plant continues to be sufficiently funded.
Based on NRC management visits to the Texas plant and monthly calls and meetings with company executives at the NRC Region IV office, the NRC has been assured EFH’s financial issues will not have a negative impact on the safe operation of the plant.
Staff from NRC’s regional office in Arlington, Texas, will continue to conduct inspections and assessments to ensure public health and safety is maintained. They will also evaluate whether the financial conditions are impacting plant staffing, maintenance activities and emergency preparedness capabilities.
Moving forward, the NRC has reminded the company it must continue to meet requirements of its license. For example, EFH/Luminant must have a financial support agreement of $250 million to ensure operating and maintenance costs for the two reactors can be met for a year. And EFH and Luminant must inform the NRC prior to transferring significant funds — greater than 10 percent of total accounts — away from Luminant. Once a new corporate entity is established the firm must notify the NRC to begin the license transfer process.
The plant is in compliance with our decommissioning funding assurance requirements, and the NRC will work with the bankruptcy authorities to ensure decommissioning funds are insulated from creditor claims.
Two NRC resident inspectors live in the local community and work at the plant. They are the agency’s eyes and ears at the plant and their daily oversight helps to ensure the plant continues to be operated safely, and protects public health and the environment.