The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in a notice to be published in the April 21 Federal Register, said it will take comment for 30 days on a December 2014 application by Duke Energy Progress and the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) for the direct transfer of Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-71 and DPR-62 for Brunswick Units 1 and 2 from the current holder, NCEMPA, to Duke Energy.
The NRC is also considering amending the licenses for administrative purposes to reflect the proposed transfer. Following approval of the proposed direct transfer of control of the licenses, current co-owner Duke Energy would acquire NCEMPA’s ownership interest in the facilities and would hold 100% ownership of the facilities. Duke Energy would be responsible for the operation and maintenance of Brunswick Units 1 and 2, and would operate them under the same terms and conditions included in the present operating licenses.
Also in the April 21 Federal Register, the NRC will publish a separate notice that it is taking comment on the proposed transfer from NCEMPA to Duke Energy Progress of Renewed Facility Operating License No. NPF-63 for the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory announced April 2 that he had signed legislation that grants final state approval for the Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) purchase of certain generating assets held by NCEMPA, including these shares of Brunswick and Harris. Duke Energy Progress had first announced in February 2014 that it was in talks to buy 700 MW of generating capacity that NCEMPA now holds in several Duke Energy Progress plants.
McCrory said the move should lower electric rates for consumers in eastern North Carolina and slash the debt load held by the municipal power agency. The new law will allow Duke to purchase generation assets from the 32 localities that make up NCEMPA. The $1.2bn purchase will significantly lower the agency’s debt load from $1.9bn to approximately $480m, the governor said.
NCEMPA has partial ownership interests in several Duke Energy Progress plants, including Brunswick Units 1 and 2 (in Brunswick County, N.C.), Mayo Plant (Person County, N.C.), Roxboro Plant Unit 4 (Person County) and the Harris Nuclear Plant (Wake County, N.C.).