UPDATE: AmerenUE suspends plans for new mid-Missouri nuclear reactor

Thursday, April 23, 2009 | 11:48 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — AmerenUE has suspended plans to build a second reactor at its mid-Missouri nuclear power plant, and the company says it has no plans to revisit the project.

Ameren officials made the announcement Thursday at the utility's St. Louis headquarters, a day after supporters of legislation designed to help Ameren build the second reactor called it increasingly unlikely the bill would pass this year.

During a news conference following his speech Thursday morning at the Missouri Energy Summit, Gov. Jay Nixon said he had not heard until that moment that Ameren UE had suspended its plan to build the second plan. But he didn't seem surprised by  the early morning announcement. Nixon noted that, while nuclear energy can be very valuable,  he was "not sure if the Callaway plant is a good thing to do right now in this economy."

A key stumbling block was a law barring utilities from charging customers the costs of a new power plant before it starts producing electricity. The bill would have let utilities seek permission from the Public Service Commission to add financing costs onto electric bills before the plants are operational.

The new nuclear plant would have cost at least $6 billion.

Missourian reporter Jason Lenhart contributed to this report.

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