Monumental grassroots victory against new reactor in Missouri!

by Beyond Nuclear - Today AmerenUE announced that it has cancelled its plans to build a new 1,600 megawatt-electric French Areva "Evolutionary Power Reactor" at its Callaway nuclear power plant in central Missouri. The project's biggest stumbling block was Missouri's anti-CWIP law. "Construction Work in Progress" (CWIP) allows a nuclear utility to recover the construction costs of a reactor before the reactor actually operates. Ratepayers pay this cost through their current electricity bill even though the reactor has not produced any power. Like federal taxpayer loan guarantees, CWIP is a way to overcome private investors' wise aversion to the large financial risks of new reactor loans.

In 1976, Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey helped lead a state-wide ballot measure barring CWIP in Missouri which passed by 2 to 1 margin. Nuclear industry efforts to overturn the anti-CWIP law in Missouri have failed, leading to the nuclear utility's announcement that it has cancelled its new reactor proposal. Congratulations to Kay Drey and all the Missouri grassroots activists who have successfully defended the CWIP ban, thus blocking the new reactor targeted at their state! This victory serves as an inspiration to help build resistance against using CWIP to construct new reactors now underway in such states as FL, GA, and SC! Read the Saint Louis Post Dispatch story.AmerenUE Requests Sponsors to Withdraw Missouri Clean and Renewable
> Energy Construction Bills in General Assembly ST. LOUIS, April 23
> /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
> Senior management of AmerenUE, the Missouri operating subsidiary
> of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), today announced that they have
> asked the legislative sponsors of the Missouri Clean and Renewable
> Energy Construction Act (SB228/HB554) to withdraw the bills from
> consideration by the General Assembly.
> "We want to thank the visionary leadership in both the Missouri
> House and Senate, where this legislation won strong initial support in
> committees in both bodies," said AmerenUE President and Chief
> Executive Officer Thomas R. Voss. "Many representatives and senators
> understood the need for acting now to secure Missouri's energy
> independence and security, agreeing with us that allowing these
> funding mechanisms is best for Missouri.
> "As we were moving forward to preserve the option for nuclear
> energy for our state, we stressed that we needed financial and
> regulatory certainty before we could begin construction. However, the
> current version of the bill being debated in the Senate strips the
> legislation of the very provisions we needed most to move forward. As
> a result, AmerenUE is suspending its efforts to build a nuclear power
> plant in Missouri."
> The legislation, as originally proposed, would have allowed
> regulators to authorize funding mechanisms for construction of clean
> energy plants in Missouri--including a nuclear power plant, which UE
> officials believe offered the best solution for providing reliable,
> low-cost energy with a reduced carbon footprint. A key element of the
> legislation, known as CWIP, or construction work in progress, is a
> funding plan used across the United States to allow utilities to
> recover financing costs from customers, while building a new plant.
> Current Missouri law prevents Missouri investor-owned utilities from
> recovering any plant development costs until an energy plant is
> operating. This law makes financing a new plant in the current
> economic environment impossible.
> "We salute the strong leadership of the bill sponsors---Senators
> Delbert Scott and Frank Barnitz and Representatives Ed Emery and Gina
> Walsh; of individuals like Hugh McVey, of the AFL-CIO; of officials of
> cooperative and municipal utilities and associations; and of union,
> civic and environmental leaders who understood the benefits to
> customers of this legislation. They understood the importance of
> bringing 3,000 jobs and over
> $6 billion in economic benefits, including significant tax revenues,
> to the state with this clean energy project. We also want to thank the
> hundreds of people who wrote letters supporting this legislation.
> These individuals are only some of the many who helped our elected
> officials understand that this legislation is an essential first step
> for development of clean energy sources in Missouri."
> However, Voss said at this point the legislation does not provide
> the assurances needed for UE to take on a multi-billion dollar
> project.
> "A large
> plant would be difficult to finance under the best of conditions, but
> in today's credit constrained markets, without supportive state energy
> policies, we believe getting financial backing for these projects is
> impossible," he said. "Pursuing the legislation in its current form
> will not give us the financial and regulatory certainty we need to
> complete this project.
> "While we are disappointed with the outcome of this legislative
> initiative, the Missouri Clean and Renewable Energy Construction Act
> sparked a vigorous debate about energy issues and caused everyone
> involved to think more deeply about energy policy," added Voss. "That
> debate has established a foundation for the constructive energy policy
> discussions we must continue to have with legislators, regulators,
> customers and other stakeholders to meet the energy needs of our
> children and grandchildren in decades to come."
> Energy demand in Missouri has increased 50 percent since 1990 and is
> projected to grow significantly in the next 20 years.
> Voss added that UE has been a vital part of Missouri for over 100
> years. "We illuminated the 1904 Worlds Fair. We built Bagnell Dam at
> the Lake of the Ozarks during the Great Depression, and since 1984,
> our Callaway Nuclear Plant has provided safe, reliable, affordable
> clean energy.
> AmerenUE
> turned on the power yesterday and today and will always work to keep
> the power on," he said. "Now, we will continue looking at options for
> providing the electricity Missourians will need in coming years."
> With residential electric retail rates that are approximately 38
> percent below the national average, AmerenUE provides electricity and
> natural gas to 1.2 million customers in Missouri. With assets of
> approximately $23 billion, Ameren Corporation ( serves
> 2.4 million electric customers and one million natural gas customers
> in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
> Forward-looking Statements
> Statements in this release not based on historical facts are
> considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and
> uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially
> from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have
> been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there
> is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These
> statements include (without limitation) statements as to future
> expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events,
> conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe
> harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
> 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important
> factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from
> those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those
> discussed elsewhere in this release and in our filings with the
> Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause actual results to
> differ materially from management expectations suggested in such
> forward- looking
> statements:
> -- regulatory or legislative actions, including changes in
> regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations and future rate
> proceedings or future legislative actions that seek to limit or
> reverse rate increases;
> -- changes in laws and other governmental actions, including
> monetary and fiscal policies;
> -- changes in laws or regulations that adversely affect the
> ability of electric distribution companies and other purchasers of
> wholesale electricity to pay their suppliers, including AmerenUE and
> Ameren Energy Marketing Company;
> -- increasing capital expenditure and operating expense
> requirements and our ability to recover these costs in a timely
> fashion in light of regulatory lag;
> -- prices for power in the Midwest, including forward prices;
> -- business and economic conditions, including their impact on
> interest rates, bad debt expense, and demand for our products;
> -- disruptions of the capital markets or other events that make
> the Ameren companies' access to necessary capital, including
> short-term credit, impossible, more difficult or costly;
> -- our assessment of our liquidity and the effect of regulatory
> lag on our available liquidity sources;
> -- actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such
> actions;
> -- operation of AmerenUE's nuclear power facility, including
> planned and unplanned outages, and decommissioning costs;
> -- the effects of strategic initiatives, including acquisitions
> and divestitures;
> -- the impact of current environmental regulations on utilities
> and power generating companies and the expectation that more stringent
> requirements, including those related to greenhouse gases, will be
> introduced over time, which could have a negative financial effect;
> and
> -- legal and administrative proceedings.
> Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on
> these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the
> federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update or
> revise publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new
> information or future events.
> SOURCE Ameren Corporation