Local task force assigned to Ameren, Westinghouse nuclear project
Governor Jay Nixon (D) has announced the formation of a task force to help Missouri land a federal grant to build small modular nuclear reactors, or SMR’s.
The task force is made up of officials from counties adjacent to Ameren Missouri’s Callaway County nuclear plant, which would build the reactors in a joint project with Westinghouse. Nixon says it’s important to have input from local-level officials.
“Workforce issues, business issues, roads, bridges, whatever," Nixon said. "Having these folks in at the ground level will mean that, if this grant comes our way, we will be seamless in the execution of it from the bottom to the top.”
Nixon also told reporters that the selection process appears to be moving quicker than expected.
“I can’t speak (for) the decision makers," Nixon said. "Certainly I’ve been speaking to them, but I do think that the original time frame...it’s our sense that it’s moving to a quicker conclusion.”
The task force will be led by Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill, and will also include presiding commissioners:
- Gary Jungerman, of Callaway County;
- Marc Ellinger of Cole County;
- Dave Dudenhoeffer, of Osage County; and
- Randy Verkamp, of Phelps County.
“Dan and his group will ensure that, in addition to the strong statewide support we’ve built for this project, there is also a seamless and engaged presence at the local level,” Nixon said.
The governor touts the plan as "a new global industry" that would also benefit the state's power supply. He joined more than 20 statewide business leaders, utility executives and fellow politicians Monday afternoon at an economic development summit on the University of Missouri's Columbia campus. Westinghouse Electric Company and Ameren Missouri are competing for a share of the $452 million the federal Department of Energy has set aside for the new technology. The companies want to build and operate up to five smaller reactors in Missouri while also building portable reactors that could be shipped overseas or elsewhere in the United States.