Ameren making $130M of repairs to Missouri nuclear plant

The Callaway Energy Center shut down earlier this month for a regularly scheduled refueling and is expected to be offline for 60 days while repairs are made. (File)

Missouri's only nuclear power plant is undergoing a nearly $130 million repair project that includes the first overhaul of its main generator since the plant began operating in 1984.

The improvements made to the turbines and other facilities at the nuclear-powered energy center will add an extra 20 years of power-generating life.

The Callaway Energy Center is a 1,285-megawatt nuclear power plant that generates 1/5 of all the electricity produced by Ameren Missouri. It shut down Oct. 7 for a regularly scheduled refueling and maintenance, a process that occurs every 18 months. The reactor is expected to be offline for 60 days while repairs are being made.

"We operated continuously for 514 days from out last refueling outage," Barry Cox, Senior Nuclear Operations Manager said. This is the second-longest continuous period in its history.

Ameren Missouri's site vice president, Tim Herrmann, said Thursday that the costs include $101 million of capital expenditures and $27 million related to operation and maintenance. That includes refurbishing the stationary part of the generator.

The primary focus is on replacing the guts of the high-pressure, steam-driven turbine that spins the generators to produce electrical power. It is something that has not been done since the plant went on line 33 years ago.

"We're replacing the internals with new copper bars, new insulation, to run till 2044, which is the end of our extended period of operation," Hermann said.

The power plant in rural Callaway County typically employees 750 people. But about 1,000 workers have been added to make the repairs.

This time of year is a period of lowest demand for electricity, and Callaway officials said their coal-fired and hydro-electric plans can cover the need.

The refueling of the nuclear rods at Callaway will occur toward the end of Nov., and after a period of testing, the plant should be back on line by early Dec.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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