What happened

Shares of Vistra (VST -11.26%) continue to power higher today after the independent utility operator announced it was acquiring a nuclear power company for $3 billion. 

After the announcement yesterday that it was buying Energy Harbor, the second-largest nuclear power company, Vistra's stock shot 14% higher to close at $24.38 per share. It was trading up another 10.7% at 10:49 a.m. ET in morning trading Tuesday, for a better-than-26% total gain.

Nuclear cooling towers.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Vistra, which operates in Texas, is buying Ohio-based Energy Harbor and will combine it with its own operations to form Vistra Vision, which will have four nuclear power plants with 6,400 megawatts of power. Because of the purchase, Energy Harbor's two biggest shareholders, asset management firms Avenue Capital Group and Nuveen, will gain a 15% stake in Vistra.

Energy Harbor was previously known as FirstEnergy Solutions, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy (FE 1.36%), and declared bankruptcy in 2018 before rebranding itself as Energy Harbor. It received a $1 billion bailout from Ohio but became embroiled in a corruption scandal involving the state legislature's passage of the bailout, which ended up getting repealed in 2021.

Now what

Once the transaction is completed, Vistra Vision will have a clean-energy portfolio of about 7,800 megawatts and serve approximately 5 million customers. It will also have access to a pipeline of about 1,100 megawatts of additional renewables projects.