Gov. Jay Nixon today announced the creation of a Local Government Task Force to assist Westinghouse Electric Co. in its bid for funds from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to design, license, manufacture and commercialize American-made small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) to help meet the nation's energy needs and to export this technology globally.
The Governor made the announcement at an economic development summit held at the University of Missouri, where he was joined by senior executives from Westinghouse, the global leader in nuclear energy technology, and from Ameren Missouri; as well as by representatives of all of Missouri's electric power providers and the presiding commissioners from several mid-Missouri counties.
In April, Westinghouse announced it had chosen Missouri as the location to develop and manufacture a new generation of SMRs, which are highly compact, safe and reliable reactors that make nuclear power an attractive option for a variety of electric energy providers. In May, Westinghouse submitted its application for the highly competitive federal cost-share investment funds to DOE.
"Creating this new generation of nuclear reactors will require extensive research, advanced engineering, and outstanding workers - we offer all three right here in Missouri," Gov. Nixon said. "To build on this strong foundation and continue down the path toward success, I am forming our Local Government Task Force, which will include the presiding commissioners of Boone, Callaway, Cole, Osage, and Phelps counties. Those counties include the project area, and two of our world-class research institutions."
Gov. Nixon also designated Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill to chair the bi-partisan group, which also will include presiding commissioners Gary Jungerman, of Callaway County; Marc Ellinger of Cole County; Dave Dudenhoeffer, of Osage County; and Randy Verkamp, of Phelps County.
"Dan and his group will ensure that, in addition to the strong statewide support we've built for this project, there is also a seamless and engaged presence at the local level" Gov. Nixon said.
If Westinghouse receives the investment funds, it and Ameren Missouri would seek appropriate licenses from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to move forward with construction of a Westinghouse SMR at Ameren Missouri's Callaway site. The Governor said the project would help meet the entire state's energy needs and transform Missouri into a hub for manufacturing SMRs to be exported around the world.
Westinghouse's application to the DOE and its vision of developing SMR technology in Missouri have strong support from an unprecedented collaboration of all of Missouri's electric power providers, including Ameren Missouri, the Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives, the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., Empire District Electric and Kansas City Power and Light.
Westinghouse selected Missouri as its partner for this transformative project because of the state's outstanding workforce, powerhouse research institutions, strong support for nuclear power, and central location along two major rivers - making the state an ideal location to transport SMRs to global customers.
In addition to forming the Local Government Task Force, Gov. Nixon today also appointed Jason Hall, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, to represent the state on Westinghouse's SMR Readiness Committee. This public/private collaboration includes representatives from a diverse segment of Missouri's workforce, including economic development professionals, private business, universities and utilities. The Westinghouse SMR Readiness Committee is examining a variety of issues to ensure that Missouri's economic, regulatory and policy environment is conditioned to create jobs and compete on a national level.
"We have an opportunity to create a new industry from the ground up, and this new industry means unlimited potential for sustainable jobs and economic growth," said Dr. Kate Jackson, Westinghouse Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. "By building a first-of-a kind Westinghouse SMR at Callaway, we are creating an industry that positions Missouri as a key player in the transformation of the U.S. energy market."
"Securing the DOE investment funds 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 the United States and around the world," said Warner L. Baxter, chairman, president, and CEO of Ameren Missouri. "We certainly appreciate Governor Nixon's creation of a local task force, which demonstrates his strong and continued support."
Westinghouse is developing close working relationships with the nuclear energy programs at both the University of Missouri and the Missouri University of Science & Technology to leverage the expertise of their faculty and students, as well as with the numerous community college and vocational school programs throughout the state. Last month, Gov. Nixon joined representatives of Westinghouse and other coalition partners for a meeting with researchers and professors at Missouri S&T.