Ameren has been dealt a setback in its efforts to develop a small nuclear reactor near its Callaway nuclear plant. The Department of Energy has chosen, instead, to finance a development project in Tennessee.  The designs of the first reactors are to be ready in 2022.

The Department of Energy has rejected the $452-million grant proposal from Ameren and Westinghouse and has awarded a grant to a proposal from Babcock & Wilcox Company, working with the Tennessee Valley Authority.  The money will be used to create a design for the new generation reactor, which would be about one-third the size of present reactors, easier to build, and cheaper to finance.

The door is not entirely closed on the Ameren-Westinghouse proposal, however. The department says it will fund up to half of the cost of the Babcock & Wilcox project.  The department says it will announce funding for another project later.  Ameren’s director of regulatory affairs, Warren Wood, says the company remains convinced its partnership with Westinghouse not only will let it design a smaller reactor, but build one by 2022 if necessary.

AUDIO: Wood interview 5:22