Kritzer disappointed by U.S. agency decision

Callaway County Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer said Saturday he is disappointed in the action of the U.S. Department of Energy in its apparent decision to deny a grant to develop small modular nuclear reactors at the Callaway Energy Center southeast of Fulton.

Kritzer noted a letter from Missouri’s congressional delegation mentioned an official from the Energy Department has indicated the agency plans to award an innovative grant as its secondary grant rather than a grant to compete with the overall winner.

That apparently rules out a commercial proposal offered for the Callaway Energy Center through a joint application from Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse, Inc.

Last November the Energy Department awarded its major grant to a Tennessee project and Missouri had been hoping for a promised secondary commercial federal grant.

“Why would the Energy Department award an innovative grant? That’s just nuts,” Kritzer said.

Kritzer said there would be no way for the original grant recipient to receive any competition for SMR development if an innovative grant is awarded.

“The innovative proposals cannot compete with the Babcock & Wilcox Corporation in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority,” Kritzer said.

Kritzer said he also didn’t like the award of the main grant to a government agency such as the TVA.

“I guess that’s just the way the federal government operates,” Kritzer said.

Kritzer said he was cheered by the bipartisan effort by Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Roy Blunt joined by other members of Congress in seeking answers from Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

“Missouri members of Congress have asked for a response from Secretary Chu by Feb. 15. Let’s hope he responds, the sooner the better,” Kritzer said.

Even if the second grant is denied, Kritzer said he thinks development of small modular reactors at the Callaway plant is still a possibility.

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