A collaboration between St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric Corporation to develop small modular nuclear reactors was passed over Tuesday for initial
funding by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The DOE will, instead, fund a similar project by Babcock & Wilcox and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Ameren/Westinghouse partnership was seeking $452 million in funding to build the SMR's alongside the utility's Callaway county reactor.
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said in a release that she was disappointed in the DOE's decision.
"This project would be a tremendous opportunity for Missouri jobs and American energy security. I plan to keep working with the folks at Ameren and Westinghouse to pursue new opportunities, and to continue working across the aisle to expand innovation and strengthen security in American energy," McCaskill said.
In a statement, Ameren Missouri said it would continue to work with the Department of Energy to secure funding for the project.
"We look forward to continuing our discussions with the DOE on this important project for our country and our state," said Warner Baxter, president and CEO of Ameren Missouri. "In particular, we look forward to further demonstrating how the unprecedented alliance of key stakeholders throughout the state of Missouri, who have expressed strong support for this program, will help the Ameren Missouri-Westinghouse team deliver on the DOE's objectives for this project."
State officials, including Governor Jay Nixon, are hoping that development of the small modular nuclear reactors will be a boost to the state's economy. Last month, Ameren held a summit in St. Louis to rally support for the project.
Opponents of more nuclear development in Missouri say the plan is too costly and that there is no safe way to dispose of radioactive waste.