Actions Toward a New Reactor

9 years 4 months 5 hours ago August 08, 2007 Aug 8, 2007 Wednesday, August 08 2007 Wednesday, August 08, 2007 6:11:51 AM CDT in News

"The actual process can take 9 to 10 years from the time of license," said Stan Crawford, Ameren Emergency Response Coordinator.

Choosing to add a second nuclear reactor to the Callaway plant is not a quick decision.

"If we do build another power plant out there, there will be a lot of social and economic changes and we want to make sure the local community is ready for those types of changes," said Crawford.

In order to prepare them, Ameren met with leaders from Fulton, Columbia and Jefferson City.

"We really wanted some clarification of where they were and what they needed from us, and also what we needed from them," said Nancy Lewis, Executive Director of Callaway Chamber of Commerce.

When the first reactor was built in the 1970's, Callaway County wasn't as prepared as they hope to be this time.

"I don't think they were able to take full benefits," said Crawford.

"This community was really tiny and we didn't really have the housing available that was needed and the infrastructure," said Lewis.

Now, the local community wants to be ready for the influx of workers this could bring.

"A lot of workers want someplace with a small kitchen, and we struggle to provide that," said Lewis.

More housing could pop up in surrounding areas, if building this second reactor is a go. The key word there is "if."  It's nowhere near a done deal. Ameren started the application for construction and operation of a second reactor in September 2006 and plans to finish the application in the next year or so. Then, the nuclear regulatory commission will take 2 to 3 years to review the application.

If the application is approved, (around the year 2011), Ameren will then decide whether or not it wants to construct at the Callaway plant. If the decision is yes, the first safety-related concrete will be poured by the end of 2013 and the second nuclear reactor would ideally be on-line by 2018. If this all happens, the new reactor would be constructed close to the current one.

"It would actually go 1,200 feet to this side of the current reactor," said Tim Herrmann, Ameren Vice President of Engineering.

And it would look a little different. The new reactor would have two cooling towers, and they wouldn't be as tall as the one already in place.

"The reactor design we are pursuing actually has a double containment that can actually withstand airline strikes," said Hermann.

The two concrete containment walls would each be 4 to 6 feet thick.

"...[The containment walls] have the ability to withstand nuclear accidents with no releases to the public," said Hermann.

With this reactor comes more jobs: an estimated 2,500 at the peak of construction.

"Everybody is very excited. They have been a very good corporate citizen. And, the jobs are very good paying jobs so the people that work out there have a better lifestyle than they would in another job," said Lewis.

But, at this point, Ameren is simply leaving the door open for a second nuclear reactor.

"The whole submittal of this is to preserve the option of nuclear here in Missouri," said Herrmann.

An option Ameren plans to have everyone prepared for this time around.

The Callaway Nuclear Plant isn't the only place that could be getting a new reactor. There are 20 other plants in the U.S. going through the same process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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