In August 1994, the USA concept was sparked in a discussion between Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station CEO Neil (Buzz) Carns, and Keith Hollingsworth and John Polsin of Fluor Daniel. The discussion revolved around the idea that several single-site nuclear stations working together could gain the same synergies enjoyed by larger, multi-site companies. Carl Parry, Wolf Creek's Director of Corporate Development was assigned to work with Fluor Daniel management to prepare a conceptual proposal.
The team developed the three basic strategies that continue to be the cornerstones of the Alliance:
On September 20, 1994, the concept was presented to the chief nuclear officers of all of the single-site companies in the Midwest and resulted in the birth of the Utilities Service Alliance. That same afternoon, office space was sub-let from Fluor Daniel in their Kansas City office complex. Over the next several months, general operating guidelines were established and, on January 1, 1995, the chief nuclear officers of Wolf Creek, Fermi 2, Cooper, WNP-2 (now Columbia), Fort Calhoun, Clinton, and Palisades signed an operating Memorandum of Understanding. In the spring of 1995, Bob Stafford, Fermi 2's USA Manager conducted a "circuit ride" to the member stations to borrow tools, equipment and personnel to help with the Fermi 2 outage. This was the first implementation of the loaned resource programs of USA which saved Fermi 2 in excess of $500,000 during that outage.
Throughout that year, progress was made on various programs. In December, 1995, at the request of legal counsel from the member utilities, a Business Review Request was submitted to the United States Department of Justice to determine if any anti-trust issues existed. A favorable review was received on July 3, 1996 with two "safe harbors" identified:
On August 23, 1996, the Utilities Service Alliance was incorporated as a Kansas company as a Not-for-Profit, Non-Stock, membership corporation. Thus, "USA, Incorporated," became a formal entity.
On September 1, 1999, Pacific Gas & Electric (Diablo Canyon), STP Nuclear Operating Company (South Texas Project), TXU Electric (Comanche Peak), and Ameren UE (Callaway) joined the Alliance, bringing the total number of members to 11 with 14 reactors and over 12,600 megawatts of generating capability. This new group, along with Wolf Creek, worked on a series of initiatives focused on their common design as Westinghouse 4-Loop Pressurized Water Reactors as well as joining the other members with on-going USA projects. This new "sub-group" called themselves "STARS" for "Strategic Teaming And Resource Sharing."
As the years rolled on, more changes were made within the membership of the Alliance. Both Clinton Nuclear Power Station and Palisades Nuclear Plant were purchased by fleets and subsequently discontinued their membership in USA. Five more utilities joined the ranks in their stead.
On January 1, 2012, the "STARs" sites modified their membership from participating members to Class "C" members.
The Alliance is currently comprised of 8 utilities operating 16 reactors capable of producing in excess of 16,700 megawatts of electrical power.