Nuclear Power | St. Louis Public Radio

Nuclear Power

The Callaway Nuclear Generating Station in Fulton is the only nuclear power plant in Missouri.
File photo | Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Air Conservation Commission is asking state legislators to repeal a decades-old law that controls how companies fund new nuclear power plants. 

The Construction Work in Progress law, passed by Missouri voters in 1976, prohibits utility companies from charging customers to cover the cost of building power plants until the facilities are up and running. 

The commission unanimously passed a resolution Thursday calling the law an “intractable roadblock” for nuclear power in Missouri. Opponents say the governor-appointed commission is overstepping its bounds. 

Ameren's Callaway nuclear power plant license extended

Mar 9, 2015
Ameren's Callaway reactor is the only commercial nuclear power plant in Missouri.
Missouri Coalition for the Environment

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the operating license for Ameren's Callaway nuclear power plant through 2044.

But ongoing litigation could quash that renewal.

Ameren's Callaway reactor is the only commercial nuclear power plant in Missouri.
Missouri Coalition for the Environment

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment has filed a petition to intervene with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to try to keep the NRC from relicensing Ameren's Callaway Nuclear Power Plant.

Ameren's Callaway reactor is the only commercial nuclear power plant in Missouri.
Missouri Coalition for the Environment

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment is one of several groups filing suit against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to try to get the agency to address the long-term storage of nuclear waste.

That suit follows similar cases filed by the states of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota.

Blunt Decries 'Nuclear Option' For Filibuster

Dec 13, 2012
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt is joining his fellow Republicans in criticizing a push by Majority Leader Harry Reid that would limit the power of the filibuster -- a legislative technique to give power to the minority party.

Blunt and the GOP call Reid's proposed rule changes the "nuclear option." Reid prefers the term the "constitutional option."

Whatever you call it, it would limit the use of the filibuster by making a few changes – most notably being that the one doing the filibustering actually has to be present for the speech, and can’t just threaten it.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 21, 2012 - Despite disappointing news from the Department of Energy, Ameren Missouri says it is pressing ahead with its partners to make small nuclear reactors a key part of economic development in the state.

It just isn’t sure how much federal money may be available, when it may be awarded or what changes to its approach it may need to make to be successful in the next round.

Ameren Rallies Support For Nuclear Plans

Oct 30, 2012
Ameren Missouri

The St. Louis-based utility company Ameren is continuing to rally support for its plan to build small modular nuclear reactors in Missouri.

Together with its partner in the venture, Westinghouse Electric Company, Ameren held what it called a “supplier summit” today in St. Louis.

Obama: 'Time Is Not Unlimited' To Resolve Iran Nuclear Dispute Via Diplomacy

Sep 25, 2012
(Screen capture via UN video feed)

Updated 9:55 a.m. with recap, link to full remarks

President Obama addressed the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly today and touched on the Iran nuclear dispute and addressing the root causes of turmoil in the Middle East, among other topics.

(courtesy Ameren)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has put a freeze on issuing licenses for new plants and 20-year renewals for existing ones following a ruling by a federal Appeals Court.

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in June that the practice of allowing nuclear plants to store spent fuel rods on site doesn’t meet federal environmental standards.  The decision in essence bars the awarding of any new licenses until the industry begins addressing the problem of storing nuclear waste.

Local task force assigned to Ameren, Westinghouse nuclear project

Jul 23, 2012
(courtesy Ameren)

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 7, 2012 - Even if opponents of a license extension for Ameren’s Callaway County nuclear plant don’t succeed, they hope their efforts will have long-term effects on nuclear power in Missouri and beyond.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 26, 2012 - After years of stalled attempts to build a second large nuclear reactor in Callaway County, Ameren Missouri now wants to change course and install one or more smaller modular reactors on the site.

But while the size and the technology may be different, the players and the arguments for and against such a move are largely the same.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 19, 2012 - Ameren Missouri and other publicly owned utilities in the state have agreed to support Westinghouse Electric Co. in its attempt to secure federal funds for nuclear technology that could result in new construction at the utility’s power plant in mid-Missouri.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and officials of two energy companies are preparing to make an announcement that could include plans for a second nuclear reactor in the state.

Nixon and leaders of Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric are scheduled to make the formal announcement Thursday at a news conference in Jefferson City. Nixon's office says the announcement will be significant for energy development and economic growth in Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, ​May 24, 2011 -  Less than an hour before Missouri's legislative session was to end at 6 p.m. on May 13, the state Capitol was abuzz with news of a last-minute deal between electrical-utility giant Ameren Missouri and the Fair Energy Rate Action Fund, or FERAF, a coalition of large companies and organizations that has opposed the utility's effort to change state law so it can charge consumers some of the costs for a proposed nuclear plant before it is built.

A freshman State Senator wants Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) to call a special legislative session to approve a site permit for a second nuclear power plant.

Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City) carried the issue in the Senate this year.  He sent a letter to the governor requesting a special session.

Morning headlines: Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011

Missouri Census Figures Show Increase in Retirement Age Population

The U.S. Census Bureau released the latest round of population figures last night. They show Missourian's median age is now 37.9. That's up nearly two years from the 36.1 median in 2000. Missouri's retirement-age population of people at least 65 years old grew by more than 10 percent since 2000. And residents 85 years and older grew by 15 percent - though they still account for less than 2 percent of the nearly 6 million people living in Missouri. At the same time, the number of school-aged children between 5 and 14 years old declined over the decade.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2011 - JEFFERSON CITY - Compromise was the buzzword of this year's legislative session. Missouri lawmakers always talked about it, and occasionally reached it. But much of the time, they did not.

That was particularly true of the top issues that died during the final hours: tax credits for development of Lambert airport, local control of St. Louis police, funding for nuclear power construction and new rules for initiative petitions.

Morning headlines: Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6, 2011

After Guilty Verdict, Jury Will Now Decide Coleman's Punishment

The jury that convicted Christopher Coleman in the murder of his wife and sons now must decide whether he’s eligible for the death penalty.

Jurors deliberated for nearly 15 hours over two days before finding the 34-year-old Coleman guilty of three counts of first-degree murder Thursday evening. Thirty-one-year-old Sheri Coleman and the couple's 9- and 11-year-old sons were strangled in their Columbia home in May 2009.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2011 - A bill to allow Ameren Missouri and a consortium of energy companies to recoup the costs of a site permit for a possible nuclear power plant appears dead for this year, according to a St. Louis senator who handled the bill.

The legislation would have authorized utility customers to pay roughly $45 million for an early site permit, which proponents say could pave the way for a new nuclear reactor in Callaway County. Legislative action is needed because of a law approved by voters in 1976, which restricts utility companies from passing along on construction costs to consumers. It's commonly known as CWIP.

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.

Morning headlines: Monday, April 11, 2011

Apr 11, 2011

Jury Selection Begins in Coleman Murder Trial

Jury selection begins today in Perry County Illinois in the trial of Christopher Coleman. That’s according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The former Marine is accused of strangling his wife and two sons and then staging the crime scene with threatening messages on the walls.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the days since the twin earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, news of the resulting leaks of radioactive material from Japanese nuclear facilities and worries about food contamination have flooded the airwaves. That has left many in the U.S. fearing the worst about friends and loved ones in Japan -- and about the health risks here at home.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 29, 2011WASHINGTON - About 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, the federal government has gambled nearly $10 billion on an arid tract of real estate that hasn't paid off. That project -- to convert Nevada's Yucca Mountain into the nation's long-term repository for nuclear waste -- may not yet be dead, but it is on life support.

Illinois senators question nuclear experts

Mar 25, 2011

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the size of the evacuation zones around the six nuclear power plants in Illinois should be reviewed.

Kirk and fellow U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin held a forum Friday with a panel of four nuclear experts that resembled a congressional hearing to talk about safety in Illinois in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

Durbin says he'll ask nuclear experts about safety

Mar 24, 2011
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Sen. Dick Durbin says he wants answers from nuclear experts about the safety of some of Illinois' aging nuclear plants in the wake of the crisis in Japan.

The Democrat says he and fellow U.S. senator, Republican Mark Kirk, will host a forum in Chicago on Friday that will include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

Callaway is prepared for "worst case" disasters, says Ameren

Mar 18, 2011

View Callaway nuclear power plant in a larger map

Missouri’s sole nuclear power plant was built to handle “worst case” natural disasters.

That’s what Ameren officials told reporters Friday morning, at a press conference called in response to the nuclear crisis in Japan.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 17, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Concerned by the safety of the four nuclear reactors in Illinois that have the same design as the severely damaged Japanese reactors, Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday that he has ordered state emergency management officials to intensify their scrutiny of those and the other seven reactors in the state.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Despite the ongoing danger of nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says plans for new facilities should continue in this country.

Workers in Japan are trying to cool overheating reactors damaged by last week's earthquake and tsunami. Blunt says earthquakes would likely not cause similar problems at any nuclear facility in the U.S., including Missouri's lone reactor in Callaway County.