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Waste Management Site Closure

Operating with environmental stewardship in mind begins with reducing the impact of our energy-producing processes and carries forward into the responsible management of any waste produced as a result of those processes.

Managing Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR)

While Ameren Missouri has demonstrated that our CCR waste management and disposal activities do not pose an adverse risk to public health and the environment, we are still approaching the closure of the ash basins with great care. We engaged experts to assist us in thoroughly exploring the best way to close the ash basins and limit impacts on nearby communities. As a result of extensive analysis, we are closing the basins by installing a cover system that exceeds regulatory requirements. The ash is covered by a liner, then a layer of compacted clay and soil. In some cases, we will plant native grasses and vegetation over the area. Safe, responsible closure using this method is the most efficient path to achieve the groundwater protection standards set under federal rule.

We are making rapid progress on safely closing ash basins at three of our four energy centers, well ahead of regulatory requirements, and expect to complete all the closures by 2023. Even after the basins are closed, we will continue to monitor groundwater in the area.

Ameren Missouri also is working to increase CCR recycling efforts. Coal ash can be used to replace other materials in wallboard, cement and concrete, roofing, and bricks, reducing the reliance on other natural resources for these products. Currently, 69% our CCRs are being recycled, and we are increasing these efforts so up to 85% of CCR production can be put to beneficial use.

The retirement of our coal-fired energy centers will dramatically reduce the amount of waste generated by our operations in the future.

Read More on Our CCR Waste Management

Other Waste Management Programs

Ameren Missouri has installed sufficient spent fuel storage capacity for spent fuel at the nuclear-powered Callaway Energy Center until 2044. This capacity includes wet pool storage within the energy center, as well as the dry cask storage system built next to the energy center. This level of storage capacity will be sufficient for the licensed life of the energy center. Read more about Ameren’s waste management efforts in our annual sustainability report.

Site Closure & Rehabilitation

Ameren is committed to responsible environmental management throughout our site closure and rehabilitation processes. Part of the life cycle of any of our facilities is preparing for its eventual closure. We develop site closure plans well in advance of closure, in accordance with our regulatory agencies, and set aside the funds needed to remediate the properties. In most cases, we are managing sites where predecessor's operations have long-since ceased, such as manufactured gas plant (MGP) sites. Operations at some of these sites started in the 1850s, where gas was manufactured by heating coal. As natural gas became more abundant, these sites were closed, leaving behind by-products, like coal tar, buried at many of those sites. Our goal for sites like these is to remediate soil and groundwater in the area and ultimately restore the land for community use or return it to nature. Working through state voluntary cleanup programs, we plan to finish known remediation of MGP sites by the end of 2023.

Site Closures At-a-Glance:

  • We have remediated the majority of the 44 former MGP sites in Illinois
  • Ameren has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in site closure and remediation

Remediation Approach

Ameren is responsible for remediation projects throughout our service territory, with the goal to ultimately return the remediated landscape to something useful. We’re proud that Ameren’s remediation projects have earned recognition for excellence and innovation from the American Society of Civil Engineers. We work with multiple state and federal regulatory agencies to update and complete site closure plans, allowing for land rehabilitation, repurposing and/or re- use. We also align this work with our biodiversity policy to ensure we are protecting habitats for native plants and wildlife. Throughout the site closure process, Ameren engages with multiple stakeholders, including local community members and leaders to minimize community disruption.

PCB Management

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) used to be included in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications, including electrical heat transfer equipment (i.e., transformers), before their production was banned in 1979 by the EPA. Therefore, we do not use PCBs in new installations and are eliminating all PCB equipment (≥500 ppm PCB) from our system. There is currently no known PCB (>500 ppm PCB) equipment in our system. Any PCB-contaminated (>50 but <500 ppm PCB) equipment we find is properly disposed of according to relevant regulations. We have a single vendor for recycling of used electrical equipment. Each piece of equipment is tested for PCBs at time of disposal. More than 90% is non-PCB. We will continue to properly dispose of PCB-contaminated equipment as we find it moving forward.

Ameren and many other utility companies received approval from the US EPA to dispose (PDF) of certain remediation wastes generated at secure utility assets with as- found PCB concentrations less than 50 ppm in non-TSCA approval landfill facilities, including municipal solid waste landfills.

Spent Fuel Management

Ameren has a strong spent fuel management program for the Callaway Energy Center. Every nuclear energy center in the country currently stores its own fuel. Callaway safely stores its spent fuel onsite in the spent fuel pool and the underground dry cask storage facility. Installed in 2015, Callaway's dry cask storage facility was the first of its kind in the nation. In accordance with the amended Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, long-term spent fuel storage is the responsibility of the United States Department of Energy (DOE). To date, the DOE has not fulfilled its contractual obligation to provide such storage, prompting Callaway to develop a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved interim storage facility. All fuel used since Callaway came online in 1984 is currently stored on-site. The dry cask storage area is necessary to provide sufficient spent fuel storage capacity in support of continued plant operations. The Nuclear Operations and Environmental Sustainability Committee of the board of directors provides board-level oversight of operations at Callaway. Ameren follows applicable regulations and has guidelines, standards and procedures to responsibly manage and store spent fuel. Co-workers are regularly trained on spent fuel management.

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