Westinghouse and Ameren Missouri have entered into an agreement to respond collaboratively to the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for developing and licensing the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR).
Under the terms of the agreement, Ameren Missouri will become part of and co-chair a Westinghouse-led Utility Participation Group (UPG) made up of Missouri utilities, non-Missouri utilities and industrial firms interested in seeking the DOE funds to develop and license the Westinghouse SMR technology, which includes a phased economic development approach associated with the SMR program for the State of Missouri.
Upon securing DOE support, Westinghouse and Ameren Missouri will then work collectively to seek Design Certification of the Westinghouse SMR and a combined construction and operating license with the U.S. NRC for the Westinghouse SMR at Ameren Missouri's Callaway site.
Westinghouse Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President Dr. Kate Jackson said of the agreement:
"We are excited and eager to begin this historic alliance with Missouri and Ameren to advance nuclear technology and bring economic development benefits to Missouri. The endorsement of the governor and the backing and support of so many state legislators, local officials and workforce-infrastructure leaders make our strategy for application unmatched in political and geographic strength.
"As Westinghouse surveyed the possibilities for partners, we were especially impressed with the unity of the Missouri Electricity Alliance. The diversity of public and private providers represented by the alliance is a powerful statement to the Department of Energy that there is a U.S. market for SMRs.
"The award of investment funds could help ensure that Westinghouse be the first mover in the SMR market, secure the global export home-base for Missouri and create the potential for emissions-free baseload energy for Ameren Missouri, the Missouri Electricity Alliance and their customers.
"The DOE invested in the rapid development of large reactors 10 years ago; that faith in Westinghouse ingenuity resulted in the AP1000® – the first and only passive plant to be licensed, and the first new nuclear plant construction to be started in the U.S. in 30 years. The alliance with all of our Missouri partners represents an unprecedentedly powerful case for SMR investment funding. We intend to compete for funds and win ... again."
The Westinghouse SMR is a 225 MWe integral pressurized water reactor (PWR), with all primary components located inside of the reactor vessel. It utilizes passive safety systems and proven components, as well as modular construction techniques – all realized and already licensed in the nuclear industry-leading AP1000 reactor - to achieve the highest level of safety and reduced number of components required. Westinghouse believes that this proven approach will provide licensing, construction and operation certainty that no other SMR supplier can match with competitive economics.
"Our agreement with Westinghouse is consistent with our commitment to taking proactive steps today to maintain important generation options to meet our state's energy needs in the future," said Warner Baxter, Ameren Missouri Chairman, President and CEO. "Equally important, winning the DOE competitive process positions Missouri for a transformational economic development opportunity which includes becoming the hub for the engineering design, development, manufacturing and construction of American-made SMR technology in Missouri, in the United States and around the world."
Through cost-share agreements with private industry, the Department of Energy is soliciting proposal applications for promising SMR projects that have the potential to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and achieve commercial operation by 2022. These cost-share agreements will span a five-year period and, subject to Congressional appropriations, provide a total investment of approximately $900 million, with at least 50 percent provided by private industry.
"Westinghouse is the global leader in nuclear energy technology, and Missouri is proud to be partnering with this outstanding company to embrace this transformative opportunity to create jobs and expand our use of safe and renewable energy sources," Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said. "Designing, developing and commercializing next-generation nuclear technology will create good jobs for Missourians, expand our global exports, and ensure that Missouri has affordable, abundant, safe and reliable power for generations to come."