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Government, Politics & Issues

Nuclear site permit may be dead for 2011

Ameren Missouri's Callaway Nuclear plant

Legislation that would allow Missouri utility customers to be billed for a site permit for a second nuclear reactor may be dead for the session.

The measure had recently been added to a separate bill dealing with utility deposits and the Office of Public Counsel.

But during Senate debate today, the nuclear site permit language was ruled to be beyond the scope of the bill.  State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City) sponsors the site permit measure.  He says he’s not giving up.

“Legislation is a process, and so we’re moving through that process right now," Kehoe said.  "We understand what some of the concerns are from the various groups and senators, and I think what we need to do is figure out a way to work through those concerns, bring people together for a compromise, and try to push this very important project forward.”

The site permit would be for a second reactor at Ameren Missouri's nuclear plant in Callaway County.

Opponents say passing the bill could be the first step toward repealing a voter-approved law that bars utility companies from billing customers for new power plants while they’re under construction.

Chris Roepe with the group Fair Energy Rate Action Fund (FERAF) issued a statement, which read, in part:

“SB 48 does not contain adequate consumer protections and is nothing more than a risk transfer from the utility companies to consumers...FERAF would like to see the proper protections included in any legislation that addresses an early site permit that consumers are being asked to pay for.”     

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