"Small" Nuclear Reactors

Instead of hope and hype, MCE looks at the history of the nuclear industry as the likely path for the future of SMRs, plagued by construction delays, cost overruns and cancellations. The $452 million grant from the Department of Energy that Toshiba Westinghouse has applied for will not come close to the final price tag of one SMR. There are lots of questions as to who will pay for the rest of the project. Based on Ameren’s history of attacking Missouri’s consumer protection law, MCE plans to defend this law once again in the 2013 legislative session.

Ameren Missouri’s proposal to build small modular reactors (SMRs) does not change any of the problems associated with big nuclear reactors. SMRs create radioactive waste. The United States does not know how it’s going to safely store radioactive waste already piling up at 104 nuclear reactors in operation, let alone more radioactive waste from SMRs.

The cost, according to Toshiba Westinghouse, the company wanting to build SMRs in Missouri, is the same per kilowatt hour as big nuclear reactors being built in Georgia and South Carolina. The problem is those projects are already over budget with years of construction remaining and delays likely.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, which is not an anti-nuclear organization, sent Dr. Edwin Lyman to Washington D.C. to dispel the hype and hope of SMRs in front of a Congressional hearing on the matter.