Groups Fear Taum Sauk Fallout Will Nuke Missouri

Cooling Tower 12.2.2005

Originally uploaded by 10thAvenue

Environmental groups are concerned that Ameren is going to use the Taum Sauk disaster as an excuse to build Missouri’s second nuclear power plant at its Callaway County site or perhaps will resurrect its ill fated plans to build two large pumped storage facilities on top of mountains by Taum Sauk.

Talk of a second Missouri nuke surfaced just a few days before the December 14 Taum Sauk disaster.

Ameren had filed a highly classified document entitled “Integrated Resource Plan” on its long range plans. However following the disaster Missouri regulators have sided with environmental groups to make those plans public.

The Callaway nuclear plant currently generates 1,143 megawatts incomparison to 350 megawatts at Taum Sauk. The nuclear plant accounts for 11 percent of Missouri’s power needs while hydroelectric plants such as Taum Sauk and the more famous Osage Power Plant at Lake of the Ozarks/Bagnell Dam generate around 1 percent.

Highpointers Club Founder and President Jack Longacre who lived on Taum Sauk successfully fought Ameren’s plans in 2001 to build the two new pumped storage facilities near Taum Sauk.

Mark Haim, of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, said his group challenged the secrecy of AmerenUE’s long-range plans to ensure its expansion proposals are “not hidden from the public.” Peaceworks also wants to ensure that AmerenUE gives full consideration to more efficient utilization of energy and the generation of power from renewable sources.

Ken Midkiff, conservation chairman of the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club, said that group has been watching AmerenUE’s long-range plans since it learned a few years ago of the utility’s plan to create a hydro-electric plant atop Church Mountain that would be even larger than the similar and nearby Taum Sauk reservoir in southeast Missouri. Midkiff said such reservoirs amount to massive mountaintop “bathtub(s)” and destroy the landscape. In 2001, AmerenUE withdrew its application for a federal permit allowing the reservoir.

There’s some interesting ways to interpret the megawatt numbers. Three Taum Sauk plants would be the equivalent of one nuclear power plant — a powerful argument in the debate over whether to go green and self renewable via hydro and walking to hazardous nuke path. The other irony is that Taum Sauk actually was built to produce more power than the Lake of the Ozarks plant (that plant generates around 216 megawatts) even though the Lake of the Ozarks has 86 miles of shoreline (compared with 1 mile circumferance of the Upper Taum Sauk Reservoir).
And for what it’s worth the Lake of the Ozarks plant was responsible for monitoring the Taum Sauk Reservoir despite being more than 100 miles away. Its lake is also the state’s largest park with the Taum Sauk/Johnson Shut Ins State Park being second.

State regulators want AmerenUE to disclose plans
January 31, 2006
Columbia Missourian

Ameren’s Callaway Plant Site
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