Energy officials meet to discuss funding for Ameren, Westinghouse reactors

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 | 6:58 p.m. CDT; updated 1:09 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 10, 2012

COLUMBIA — Industry leaders joined in a show of support Tuesday morning for efforts by Ameren Missouri to develop small modular nuclear reactors in Callaway County.

Officials with electric utilities and two Missouri members of the U.S. House of Representatives met at MU to discuss an application by Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric Co. for up to $452 million in federal grant money from the Department of Energy for the proposed project.

Warren Wood, vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs for Ameren Missouri, said a decision on the grant request is expected before Sept. 30.

Wood said if the grant comes through, the next steps would be:

  • An application from Westinghouse by 2013 to certify the design for the small modular nuclear reactors.
  • An application from Ameren by 2014 for a combined construction operating license.

Both applications would take several years of review, and the site would not be operational until around 2022, Wood said.

The combined construction operating license would allow for five small modular nuclear reactors. Wood said the utility would start with one and build others depending on demand for electricity.

Other utilities in South Carolina, Tennessee and the state of Washington are  competing for the same pool of federal funds, according to a presentation Wood made Tuesday morning.

Ameren and supporters have championed the number of jobs and economic development that the small modular reactors could potentially bring to the state and mid-Missouri.

At the event, Wood said the proposal has the backing of 600 organizations and individuals. Ameren spokesman Kent Martin said later on Tuesday that Ameren could not identify supporters without getting their permission.

U.S. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer andVicky Hartzler, Republicans who represent the 9th and 4th districts, respectively, both attended and noted bipartisan support for bringing the new technology to Missouri.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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