CEC endorses Nuclear Plant bill

Members of the board of directors of Callaway Electric Cooperative have approved a resolution supporting passage of proposed state legislation for a second reactor at the Callaway Nuclear Plant.

Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, and Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, have introduced identical legislation in the Missouri General Assembly allowing recovery of costs for an early site permit for a second nuclear reactor at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant at Reform.

“I have been working since I was elected for the first time two years ago to expand the Callaway Nuclear Plant. That’s what I told people with seeking re-election,” Riddle said.

The newest proposal includes not only Ameren Missouri but also numerous other utilities around the state. The group includes many electric cooperatives, unions and business groups that have banded together along with the governor to support a second reactor site permit for the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant.

Partners in the new energy consortium that are supporting a site permit for a second nuclear reactor at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant include Ameren Missouri, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., Empire District Electric, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Kansas city Power & Light Co., and the Missouri Public Utility Alliance.

The Callaway Nuclear Power Plant is the only nuclear power plant in Missouri. With proposed cap and trade legislation and tough new environmental regulations looming over coal fired power plants, utilities around the state have been scrambling to become involved in nuclear power.

Plans for expansion of coal-fired plants by many power-producing cooperatives have been abandoned because of the threat of expensive federal regulation and controls designed to price coal-fired plants out of operation.

The costs associated with securing the permit also must be approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates utility rates.

Mike Cleary, a Missouri Ameren spokesman, said so far there is no agreement for joint ownership of the second nuclear reactor but there is joint support from utilities, unions and business groups to support a site permit.

Tom Howard, Callaway Electric Cooperative general manager, said a second nuclear reactor at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant is needed to assure a steady flow of electricity in Central Missouri.

Howard said Callaway Electric Cooperative receives electrical power from Associated Electric Cooperative.

“Given existing regulatory and economic uncertainties on coal-based power suppliers such as Associated, Callaway Electric Cooperative considers the legislation the most prudent course of action to meet future needs of its members,” Howard said.

Cooperatives around Missouri have banded together to endorse the proposal because they would be likely buyers of excess energy generated by the nuclear power plant.

Riddle has introduced House Bill 50 and Kehoe has offered Senate Bill 50. Both legislators represent Callaway County in the Missouri General Assembly.

In supporting the proposed legislation, the board of directors of Callaway Electric Cooperative said the proposed legislation will help the state’s electric industry obtain funding for a potential nuclear unit at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant.

Passage of the legislation, the resolution states, “would allow power suppliers of Missouri to pursue an early site permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and strategically position Missouri to take advantage of possible federal incentives to promote nuclear energy.”

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