COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri is getting $1.8 million from the federal government to encourage nuclear energy development.
The grants will help fund the development of a supply chain, logistics, and infrastructure needed to manufacture small modular nuclear reactors.
Modular reactors are smaller than large nuclear power plants. They can be built in factories and shipped where they are needed.
The university in July announced a partnership with Westinghouse Electric Co. and Ameren Missouri to work on research related to modular nuclear reactors.
President Barack Obama's administration said Tuesday that the project also will assess the education and training needed for a workforce to produce the reactors.
Sen. Claire McCaskill said the grant shows Missouri is well situated to lead the nation in developing small modular nuclear reactors.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois will receive nearly $540,000 in federal funds to expand the availability of fresh, locally grown produce.
Agriculture Director Bob Flider said Wednesday the money will come from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. It will be split among 12 projects focused on local produce.
Flider says Illinois' "fertile soil and favorable climate" are good for growing a variety of crops. He says the grants will help encourage production and make nutritious food available to more people.
Illinois is known for growing corn and soybeans. But it's the nation's largest pumpkin and horseradish producer in the nation and is among the top states for such crops as asparagus, cauliflower, green peas and lima beans.
The state has more than 117,000 acres of specialty crops which produce $137 million in sales.
Seventeen East St. Louis firefighters will lose their jobs at the end of the month. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that City Manager Deletra Hudson sent a letter to the firefighters saying the city "has been forced to make some difficult financial decisions to meet its budgetary obligations."
The firefighters had been hired with federal grant money. When the grant ran out in March, East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks said the city found some extra money to keep the firefighters on the job until the end of September.
Parks told the paper that he expects eight of the laid off firefighters to be called back when the new city budget kicks in January 1st.
East St. Louis currently employs 54 firefighters.
The East St. Louis Fire Department gets a substantial part of it's funding from a federal grant. That grant is about to run out. The firefighter's union says that means 22 of the department's 53 firefighters would be let go.
Mayor Alvin Parks says the city is reapplying for the grant, but it could be denied. Parks told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that happens, the city would only need to lay off 10-15 firefighters because of a tax increase that took effect in January.
The firefighters union says they're already short on personnel and resources, unable to send more than 6 firefighters to any one fire scene.
The firefighters are making their case with Youtube video, which had nearly 40,000 hits in the first two days since it was posted.
According to their video, East St. Louis firefighters answer a lot of calls. About half of all 9-1-1 calls in East St. Louis last year, 950 calls were for fires.