Little Rock, Ark. — May 17, 2012 — Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) has joined the NexStart SMR Alliance, a group of utilities interested in nuclear power generation, to support the potential deployment of the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

In addition to AECC, the consortium includes Ameren Missouri, Exelon Generation Company, Dominion Virginia Power, FirstEnergy Generation, Tampa Electric Company, SaskPower, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, and members of the Missouri Alliance: Missouri Public Utility Alliance; Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Inc.; The Empire District Electric Company; and Kansas City Power and Light. Other partners may join the group to support the potential installation of a Westinghouse SMR at the Callaway Energy Center in central Missouri.

According to Jonathan Oliver, vice president of engineering, construction and operations for AECC, the cooperative will support efforts to secure Department of Energy (DOE) SMR investment funds for Westinghouse. The funds are to be awarded to SMR projects that could be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and begin commercial operation by 2022.

“The five-year agreements are designed as cost-sharing plans in which the Department of Energy will match private industry investments for the design and potential NRC licensing of new, smaller nuclear reactor technologies,” Oliver said.

Investment fund applications will be submitted to the DOE in mid-May. The awarded investment projects are scheduled for announcement in late summer of 2012.

“AECC is committed to providing our members with reliable, reasonably priced power,” said Duane Highley, president and chief executive officer for AECC. “AECC has a long history of providing fuel diversity for power generation. We will continue to pursue new technology options that allow the cooperative to keep power delivery reliable and affordable for future generations.”

AECC has also been working with another nuclear industry consortium, led by Babcock & Wilcox (B&W), on their mPowerTM SMR design since 2010. AECC and 12 other generation and transmission electric cooperatives along with TVA and investor-owned utilities have provided funding and support for the development of B&W’s SMR design and its similar DOE cost-share application efforts.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or