The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has renewed the operating license of the Ameren (NYSE:AEE) Callaway nuclear power plant in Fulton, Mo., for an additional 20 years, through Oct. 18, 2044.
Callaway is a single-unit pressurized water reactor (PWR) with a nameplate capacity of roughly 1,200 MW. It is operated by Ameren utility, Union Electric. The company filed the license application Dec. 19, 2011.
Ameren has said that the carbon-free baseload generation from Callaway is crucial to helping Missouri cope with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan. The EPA plan calls upon states to reduce power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) 30% by 2030 levels.
The NRC staff’s review of the application proceeded on two tracks. A safety evaluation report was issued Aug. 21, 2014, and a supplemental environmental impact statement on Oct. 29, 2014.
Under NRC procedures, the staff may renew a nuclear plant’s operating license with Commission approval despite outstanding adjudicatory contentions.
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed contentions last September and December seeking to re-open the Callaway adjudication. On Feb. 26, the Commission denied the September request to reopen and suspend licensing of reactors. Still pending before the Commission is the December request to reopen the hearing and file an environmental contention.
Once the NRC staff completed comprehensive environmental and safety reviews, it concluded Ameren met all the requirements for license renewal. The staff on Feb. 3 requested authorization to renew the license. The Commission granted authorization on March 4. Should the renewed license be set aside on appeal, Callaway would revert to its original license, which is effective until Oct. 18, 2024.
Renewal of Callaway’s license brings to 76 the number of commercial nuclear power reactors with renewed licenses. Applications for an additional 18 renewals are currently under review.