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Financial folly – pipe-dream of Small Modular Reactors for Missouri

“what already is clear.. is that Ameren and Missouri are embarking on financial folly.”

“other electric utilities are using cheaper natural gas, which has made nuclear energy especially uneconomical. In addition, renewable energy and energy efficiency would be more inexpensive alternatives.”

Federal aid sought to build nuclear reactors in Missouri Reactors would be built in Missouri for Callaway plant and for export throughout the world. Kansas City Star, BY JASON HANCOCK AND STEVE EVERLY, 19 April 12,   JEFFERSON CITY– Westinghouse Electric Co. and Ameren Missouri announced Thursday they would seek federal funds to help build a new generation of smaller and safer nuclear reactors.

If Westinghouse wins some of up to $452 million in investment funds from the U.S. Energy Department, then St. Louis-based Ameren would apply for licenses to allow up to five 225-megawatt reactors to be built at the company’s nuclear power plant in Callaway County……
Missouri also could turn into a hub for manufacturing the new reactors — known as Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, or SMRs — to be exported around the world, Gov. Jay Nixon said……

Westinghouse plans to
submit its application for federal funds in mid-May, and the grant is
to be awarded this summer.

The reactors could be constructed in 24 months after the company
received all the necessary licenses. The grant calls for the nuclear
plant to be in service no later than 2022, said Kate Jackson,
Westinghouse’s chief technology officer…….
Not everyone, however, is on board with the idea.

Ed Smith, safe energy director for the Missouri Coalition for the
Environment, said investments in renewable energy could create
thousands of jobs without the risks associated with nuclear

“It’s maddening our state’s elected officials are pursuing risky
nuclear power technology when there is no plan for the safe storage of
the toxic radioactive waste piling up at the Callaway One nuclear
reactor,” Smith said

Interest in building nuclear plants has been in decline after the
meltdown of reactors in Japan about a year ago following the
devastating earthquakes and tsunami that slammed the island nation.
Since then, for example, a Texas utility canceled plans to build two
nuclear plants…….
Ellen Vancko, nuclear energy project manager for the Union of
Concerned Scientists, said it was impossible to analyze the new small
reactor’s safety systems until the design was licensed. But what
already is clear, she said, is that Ameren and Missouri are embarking
on financial folly.

Some estimates peg a small reactor’s cost at $5,000 per kilowatt,
which would put a price tag of more than $1 billion for Ameren’s
proposed 225-megawatt nuclear plant. By comparison, KCP&L’s new
coal-fired plant cost $2 billion for 850 megawatts.

Vancko said other electric utilities are using cheaper natural gas, which has made nuclear energy especially uneconomical. In addition, renewable energy and energy efficiency would be more inexpensive alternatives.

“Why would Ameren and Missouri want to pursue one of the most
expensive options?” she asked.


April 21, 2012 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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