U.S. Approves Joint Purchases by Nuclear Power Companies

The U.S. Justice Department said it won’t challenge a proposal by seven nuclear power plant operators to join in buying certain supplies and services.

Joint procurement by STARS Alliance LLC will help the operators cut costs and may benefit consumers by reducing electricity prices, Renata B. Hesse, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s antitrust division, said today in an e-mailed statement.

The purchasing proposal meets antitrust guidelines for collaboration among competitors, the department said in the statement.

The guidelines provide an “antitrust safety zone” in which regulators are unlikely to challenge a joint venture when the market shares of the venture and its members don’t exceed 20 percent of each relevant market. STARS said its members collectively account for less than 20 percent of the markets in which it proposed joint purchasing.

The members are Union Electric Co., Arizona Public Service Co., Luminant Generation Co., Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison Co., STP Nuclear Operating Co. and Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp.

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