A $1.2 Trillion Industry in Mid-Mo

The one and only Dave Drebes of MoScout lays out the math this morning for a new potential trillion dollar industry headquartered right here in Missouri. We’re talking about small modular nuclear reactors. Here’s the math: the reactors will sell for between $500 million to $2 billion. I’ve had folks tell me $1.1 billion is the target price point. (Drebes uses $1 billion per as his number.)

Around the world, there are 220 nuclear plants either being built or planned. Because SMRs are smaller, cheaper, safer, and would come off an assembly-line like process, they’re likely to be a viable replacement for many of those plants. To replace those 220 old-school nuke plants, there would need to be 1,100 small modular reactors built.

1,100 units times $1.1 billion per equals $1.2 trillion.

Now, there are still some big ifs in this equation. The first variable is the grant from the federal government. The second is convincing Westinghouse that, not only is mid-Missouri the place to do all the training and placement of the first reactors, it’s also the place to build the assembly line. We have some advantage in this regard. We have rail and river transport. We have an educated workforce. And we have Linn State, Lincoln University, and the University of Missouri nearby to train potential workers in all the different types of jobs that will be necessary.

There’s likely to be serious competition from other areas in Missouri along the Mississippi River. But I think it’s likely that Missouri will be the most likely place for manufacture given proximity to Callaway.

As I said last week in the paper, it’s as if the year is 1898 and Henry Ford has a little shop across the river. If Ameren and Westinghouse win this grant from the federal government for SMRs, it has the potential to set our local economy on an incredibly positive path. To give you another metaphor, the Missouri River Valley could be the Silicon Valley of SMRs.