- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

FULTON, Mo. (AP) - Ameren Missouri’s Callaway Energy Center will begin moving spent nuclear fuel to new storage containers, company officials said.

The spent fuel will be moved from a pool to underground concrete casks, Ameren officials said Tuesday. The center has been working on the storage area for four years, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1JmanSY ) reported.

Ameren officials declined to say how much the dry cask storage project will cost.

Shannon Abel, director of engineering projects at the nuclear power plant, said the new storage system is the industry standard and will allow the plant to store spent nuclear fuel on site until the plant closes in 2044. He said the cooling pools that have housed the nuclear waste would otherwise run out of space by 2020.

Abel said Callaway is one of the last nuclear power plants to implement dry cask storage. He said the casks are self-contained and “basically maintenance-free.”

The 48 underground casks have concrete-and-steel lids above the concrete pad at ground level. Each cask can house one canister of spent fuel, which contains 37 fuel assemblies.

There are no plans to reprocess the spent fuel and reuse it like other countries do, said Barry Cox, senior director of nuclear operations with Ameren Missouri.

“France does a lot of that,” Cox said. “The U.S. does none of that.”

The Callaway nuclear power plant, near Fulton, began operations in December 1984 and can produce a maximum of 1,200 megawatts of electricity. Ameren’s legislative representative, Rick Eastman, said the plant provides power for an estimated 800,000 homes.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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