The US Department of Energy has chosen a North Carolina company to receive federal funds to develop small nuclear reactors.
The choice appears to leave a project planned by Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse on hold, at least for now.
The companies issued a statement indicating they still hope to have a shot a second round of DOE funding.
"The Westinghouse SMR has tremendous potential to advance clean nuclear energy technology and sustain U.S. nuclear industry leadership and competitiveness, and we have a partner in Ameren Missouri that is committed to collaborating with Westinghouse in this groundbreaking industry innovation," said Danny Roderick, Westinghouse president and chief executive officer. "We look forward to cooperatively working with the DOE to ultimately secure and match investment funds."
They want to build portable power-generating units at the Callaway plant in Missouri.
Senator Claire McCaskill released a statement saying she is deeply disappointed by the news. "This project would be a tremendous opportunity for Missouri jobs and American energy security," she said. "I plan to keep working with the folks at Ameren and Westinghouse to pursue new opportunities, and to continue working across the aisle to expand innovation and strengthen security in American energy."
A news release by Ameren points to the broad public support for the project including, including support from Gov. Jay Nixon; senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt; U.S. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Lacy Clay and JoAnn Emerson; state Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey; state Sen. Mike Kehoe; state Rep. and House Speaker Tim Jones; state Rep. Jeanie Riddle; local and national labor leaders; the University of Missouri System; and suppliers and businesses across the state.??
Ameren and Westinghouse were among three partnerships still in the running for a share of $452 million in federal subsidies to develop modular power plants.
The Obama Administration named only the Babcock and Wilcox Company as a recipient. The company will work with the Tennessee Valley Authority to apply to license up to four Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at its Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
The amount that the company will receive has not yet been negotiated.
Speaking out against the project in Missouri are members of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment , who put out a news release Tuesday saying Ameren should seek private money for the project. The group believes the energy source is "too risky for insurance companies to insure, and there is still no solution for storing radioactive waste, which remains a health threat for millions of years beyond its useful life in energy creation."