Westinghouse, Ameren unit to collaborate on small modular nuclear reactors

Westinghouse Electric Co. and Ameren Missouri, a unit of Ameren Corp. (NYSE: AEE), will collaborate on plans to develop and license Westinghouse’s small modular nuclear reactor (SMR).

Under the terms of the agreement, Ameren Missouri will become part of and co-chair a Westinghouse-led Utility Participation Group made up of utilities from Missouri and other states and industrial firms interested in seeking the $452 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds to develop and license the Westinghouse SMR technology, which includes a phased economic development approach associated with the SMR program for the state of Missouri.

Upon securing DOE financing, Westinghouse and Ameren Missouri will then work collectively to seek Design Certification of the Westinghouse SMR and a combined construction and operating license with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the SMR at Ameren Missouri's 1,190 MW Callaway site.

"The award of investment funds could help ensure that Westinghouse be the first mover in the SMR market, secure the global export home-base for Missouri and create the potential for emissions-free baseload energy for Ameren Missouri, the Missouri Electricity Alliance and their customers,” said Westinghouse Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President Dr. Kate Jackson.

The Westinghouse SMR is a 225 MWe integral pressurized water reactor (PWR), with all primary components located inside of the reactor vessel.  It uses passive safety systems and proven components, as well as modular construction techniques that are already licensed in Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor.

"Our agreement with Westinghouse is consistent with our commitment to taking proactive steps today to maintain important generation options to meet our state's energy needs in the future," said Warner Baxter, Ameren Missouri chairman, president and CEO.  "Equally important, winning the DOE competitive process positions Missouri for a transformational economic development opportunity which includes becoming the hub for the engineering design, development, manufacturing and construction of American-made SMR technology in Missouri, in the United States and around the world."

Through cost-share agreements with private industry, the DOE is soliciting proposal applications for SMR projects that have the potential to be licensed by the NRC and achieve commercial operation by 2022.  These cost-share agreements will span a five-year period and, subject to Congressional appropriations, provide a total investment of approximately $900 million, with at least 50 percent provided by private industry.

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