Ameren suspends new nuclear plant plans

24 April 2009 — Ameren is suspending efforts to build a new nuclear power plant in Missouri, saying state policies make project financing too difficult.

Ameren asked legislators to withdraw a bill currently before the state government, saying the bill no longer achieves the goal of allowing regulators to authorize funding mechanisms to build clean energy plants in the state, including nuclear.

A key element of the original legislation, construction work in progress (CWIP), would allow utilities to recover financing costs from customers while in the process of building a new plant. However, Missouri law prevents investor-owned utilities in the state from recovering any plant development costs until the plant is operating. Without CWIP, financing a new plant in the current economic environment is almost impossible, the company said.

The utility submitted an application in July 2008 to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a combined construction and operating license (COL) for a new Areva-designed US EPR alongside its existing two units at Callaway. In 2007 it contracted with Areva for heavy forgings. With the project suspended rather than canceled, the company has made no announcement regarding its future intentions for the COL application.

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