Nuclear plant bill officially enters Senate discussion

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | 3:58 p.m. CDT; updated 4:17 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 7, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri senators have drafted dozens of amendments to legislation designed to help AmerenUE build a second nuclear power plant.

Senators on Tuesday began the first floor debate over a complex 24-page bill overhauling how Missouri pays for power plants. The thrust is to help utilities secure financing by charging electric customers for the capital costs before the new plant starts producing electricity.

A 1976 law bars charging customers until facilities are online. St. Louis-based AmerenUE has filed a license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and contends it needs the law changed for a multi-billion dollar plant.

Critics contend the bill goes beyond helping AmerenUE and question the fairness of forcing electric customers to pay for a plant that isn't yet online.


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