Ameren has submitted an application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a combined construction and operating licence (COL) for a potential new nuclear power plant at its existing Callaway site in Missouri.
|The existing Callaway plant (Image: NRC)
The COL application - submitted by AmerenUE, a subsidiary of Ameren Corp - is based on an Areva US Evolutionary Power Reactor (US EPR) with a capacity of 1600 MWe. It is the tenth COL application to be received by the NRC and the second to reference Areva's US EPR: UniStar referenced the design in its COL application for a potential new plant at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.
Ameren's application seeks regulatory approvals to potentially construct a new reactor adjacent to its existing Callaway plant. Although Ameren has yet to decide whether to actually build the new plant, the company said that seeking NRC approval and a licence will "preserve the nuclear option for the future." It will also enable the company to seek federal loan guarantees and production tax credits under the 2005 Energy Policy Act, should it proceed. Heavy forgings for an EPR were ordered by Areva on behalf of Ameren in May 2007 for delivery in 2010-1, although the parts could easily be used for other EPR projects.
"Given projections for a nearly 30% increase in demand for power in Missouri in the next two decades, we believe we will need to build a large generating plant to be on line in the 2018-2020 timeframe," said Thomas Voss, president and CEO of AmerenUE.
He added, "We are committed to taking the most cost-effective and prudent approach to supplying this power. Part of acting strategically to secure our customers' future energy needs is engaging in the licensing process for a nuclear power plant - a process that takes several years to complete. In effect, applying for a licence now better positions AmerenUE to build - should that eventually make sense for our customers."
In early April 2007, AmerenUE signed an agreement with UniStar Nuclear to assist in preparing a COL application for a new nuclear power plant. UniStar Nuclear, the jointly developed nuclear business enterprise of Constellation Energy and Areva Inc., is working toward developing and deploying a proposed standardized fleet of US EPRs in the USA. The Callaway site is one of a number of sites UniStar is evaluating. UniStar has since notified the NRC that it has selected Constellation's Calvert Cliffs plant as the first site of a COL application.