Ameren, Westinghouse apply for DOE small modular nuclear reactor funds

St. Louis, April 19, 2012 — Ameren Missouri, a utility company of Ameren Corp., entered into an agreement with Westinghouse Electric Co. to exclusively support Westinghouse’s application for the Department of Energy’s small modular reactors investment funds of up to $452 million.

The investment funding, announced by the DOE on March 22, will support engineering, design certifications and operating licenses for up to two SMR designs over five years.

The objectives of the DOE program are to support efforts for the U.S. to become the global leader in the design, engineering, manufacturing and sale of American-made SMRs around the world, as well as expand our nation’s options for nuclear power. Westinghouse expects to submit the investment fund application by mid-May. A final decision on awarding the investment funds is expected in the summer of 2012.

All of Missouri’s electric energy providers, which includes Ameren Missouri, the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., The Empire District Electric Co., Kansas City Power & Light Co., and the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, have also committed to supporting the Westinghouse application to the DOE.

Should Westinghouse be awarded DOE investment funds, Ameren Missouri will be the first utility in the country to seek a combined construction and operating license for a Westinghouse SMR.

A COL is issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate a nuclear power plant at a specific site in accordance with established laws and regulations. Obtaining a COL from the NRC does not obligate Ameren Missouri or Missouri’s other electric energy providers to build a SMR at the Callaway site; however, it does preserve an important energy option and positions Missouri to move forward in a timely fashion should conditions be right to build a SMR in the future.

In light of developments associated with the recently announced DOE program, legislative efforts surrounding the cost recovery for activities associated with obtaining an Early Site Permit from the NRC have been placed on hold while the state of Missouri seeks to capitalize on this significant opportunity. Future legislative needs associated with nuclear energy will be determined subsequent to the DOE’s investment fund decision.

The Westinghouse SMR is a 225 MW nuclear reactor with advanced safety and power features. The Westinghouse SMR technology is based on the AP1000 pressurized water reactor, a design that has already been licensed by the NRC.

Eight AP1000 units are currently being constructed: four in China, with the first unit expected to come online in 2013, and four units in the U.S., the first of which is expected to come online in 2016. The SMR will be manufactured in modules that are truck, barge and rail shippable and assembled on the plant site. This approach is designed to reduce construction time and costs.


Previous articleDTE Energy plans next wind park in Huron County
Next articleSCE supports CPUC decision to allow smart meter opt-outs

No posts to display