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Ameren, Westinghouse, regulators talk nuclear energy expansion plan


Executives from Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse presented their plans today to the state Public Service Commission for pursuing grants to build small nuclear reactors.

The two companies have teamed up to pursue up to $452 million from Washington to build up to five Small Modular Reactors, or SMR’s, at Ameren’s Callaway County plant Joseph Zwetolitz is President of the Americas division of Westinghouse.  He says SMR’s would be safer than the traditional nuclear reactor.

“This reactor is almost entirely underground, which provides an additional level of safety, with regards to potential postulated accidents, deliberate attacks, tornadoes, those kind of things," Zwetolitz said.

Ameren Missouri CEO Warner Baxter told state utility regulators that the project would be a game changer for Missouri’s economy.

“There are 9,500 direct jobs for just one 225-modular reactor, and 9,000 indirect jobs, and we believe approximately 250 to 300 permanent jobs would be at the plant site for one reactor," Baxter said.  "That’s our estimate today, and of course that will refined as we continue to move along.”

Kevin Gunn, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, says they’re interested in the project, even though the commission has no authority over it.  The Department of Energy is expected to award the grants in September. 

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