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AmerenUE drops plans for nuclear power plant

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – AmerenUE has suspended plans to build a second nuclear power plant in mid-Missouri.

That's after a bill allowing companies to pass construction costs on to consumers during construction appears deadlocked in the Senate.

Ameren officials made the announcement on Thursday, a day after supporters of legislation designed to help the company build a second nuclear reactor called it increasingly unlikely the bill would pass this year.

AmerenUE President Tom Voss said that without the inclusion of the Construction Work in Progress stipulation, known as CWIP, financing a $6 billion nuclear plant would be too difficult.

"The current version of the bill that's being debated in the Senate does not provide for that financial certainty," said Voss. "As a result UE is suspending its effort to build a nuclear plant."

Voss said UE does not plan to revisit the legislation in the foreseeable future.

Kathleen Logan Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the bill shifts too much risk onto consumers.

"What was in this bill was such a complete gutting of our rate-making structure and it was so unfair and so tilted toward the utility," said Logan Smith, "people said well what if we were going to build solar facilities or something would you support that? And the answer was 'no'".

Voss says UE rates would not have started increasing until sometime in 2013.

Ameren has already invested over $50 million in preparations for a future nuclear plant. Logan Smith says she suspects the company will revisit the issue in the future.

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