A Rolla Daily News look at nuclear power in general and in Missouri. Reliable, low-cost electricity from the Callaway Energy Center has been a key factor in keeping the price of electricity low for Ameren Missouri’s 1.2 million customers. At the end of 2012, according to the Edison Electric Institute, Ameren Missouri’s residential rates were about 24 percent below the national average for investor-owned utilities, and also among the lowest in the state, according to Ameren officials. Here's the story.
Amid the rolling hills of Callaway County, the tower of the Callaway Energy Center blends into the the surrounding countryside, drawing little attention. For 30 years, the tower has been a part of the landscape. Ameren Missouri, the utility company that owns and operates the plant, says it is a safe and efficient system that has an established history of safe operation.
In 2014, the plant was the second-largest energy producer in Ameren Missouri’s system — accounting for 19 percent of of the utility company’s generation and 12 percent of total Ameren generation. Its net generation of 9.3 million megawatt-hours of electricity was enough to supply the needs of 750,000 average households.
In 2014, the Callaway Energy Center generated 9.3 million megawatt-hours of electricity. Through 2014, Callaway achieved the fourth highest lifetime generation among the 99 nuclear power plants operating in the United States, and 15th highest in the world out of 421 nuclear plants operating
in 31 countries for which data was available.
Reliable, low-cost electricity from the Callaway Energy Center has been a key factor in keeping the price of electricity low for Ameren Missouri’s 1.2 million customers. At the end of 2012, according to the Edison Electric Institute, Ameren Missouri’s residential rates were about 24 percent below the national average for investor-owned utilities, and also among the lowest in the state, according to Ameren officials.
In annual performance assessments, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has consistently reported that the plant operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety.
The Callaway Energy Center also is a very safe place to work. In 2006, the plant received the prestigious Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Safety Achievement Award for outstanding worker safety.
BENEFITS TO THE STATE AND LOCAL ECONOMY
The Callaway Energy Center is a major source of jobs, with more than 800 Ameren Missouri employees and contractors working there. During refueling outages, which occur every 18 months, hundreds of supplemental workers are typically brought in for several weeks. Those additional workers bring with them a boost to the local economy.
The Callaway Energy Center is a major source of tax revenue to fund education and other critical services. On average, the plant accounts for about $10 million of Ameren Missouri’s annual property taxes paid to Callaway County, with about $7 million of that amount going to local schools. In addition, assessed values based on Ameren Missouri’s investment in the plant typically result in an additional $23.5 million in taxes shared by the remaining 66 Missouri counties where the company has facilities. Ameren Missouri has spent more than $24 million on security enhancements and additional security manpower since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. For the U.S. nuclear power industry as a whole, such expenditures have totaled more than $2 billion.
Plant security is routinely tested in drills and exercises every year. In addition, the NRC conducts “force on force” exercises at each plant — using highly-trained paramilitary personnel — at least once every three years.
CALLAWAY ENERGY CENTER PROFILE
Location: Callaway County, Missouri. Ten miles southeast of Fulton, 25 miles northeast of Jefferson City, 100 miles west of St. Louis.
Owner: Ameren Missouri (formerly known
as Union Electric Company). Ameren Missouri is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. The Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
Plant Design: Standardized Nuclear Unit Power Plant System (SNUPPS), using a Westinghouse four-loop pressurized water reactor and a General Electric turbine-generator.
Generating Capacity: 1,190 megawatts (net).
Cost to Build: $3 billion.
Engineering/Construction: Bechtel Power Corporation, architect-engineer; Sverdrup & Parcel and Associates, Inc., architect-engineering consultant for site development; Daniel International Corporation, general contractor.
REACTOR CONTAINMENT BUILDING
• 205 feet tall.
• 150 feet in diameter.
• Constructed of reinforced concrete and steel.
• 553 feet tall (77 feet shorter than the St. Louis Gateway Arch).
• 430 feet in diameter at the base.
• Constructed of reinforced concrete.More than 40,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in its construction.
• Cools approximately 585,000 gallons of water per minute when the plant is operating at full power.
• About 15,000 gallons per minute are lost out the top through evaporation. This water is replaced with water from the river, which is five miles south of the plant.
• Cooling tower basin holds 11 million gallons. The water is 12 feet deep under the tower, and 20 feet deep at the intake to the circulating water pumps that pump the water through the plant.
• Temperature of the water going into the tower is 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The tower cools it to 95 degrees.