Arlington, VA, February 23, 2021 – Leaders of Virginia’s nuclear energy sector are committed to powering Virginia’s carbon-free future and have adopted a strategic plan developed in coordination with the government of the commonwealth that will underpin that commitment. The plan recognizes the Commonwealth’s clean energy targets and establishes ways to help the state meet them.
The Governor last year signed legislation sponsored by State Senator Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg) and Delegate Chris Hurst (D-Montgomery) directing the state to work with nuclear energy stakeholders to develop the plan. Through the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (VNECA) the state worked with companies, universities and other stakeholders to develop the comprehensive blueprint for ensuring carbon-free nuclear energy continues its contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and growing Virginia’s economy and research and innovation.
Delegate Chris Hurst, patron of HB 1303, stated, “The nuclear industry is vital to the Commonwealth and nuclear needs to be included as we explore all opportunities for carbon-free energy. The plan shows how Virginia is a national leader in nuclear energy, it encourages research taking place at our outstanding universities, and new economic development through advanced technology and manufacturing.”
“The nuclear industry is vital to Virginia, and the Lynchburg region in particular,” said Newman. “Jobs, economic growth, and clean air are just three of the benefits the state will see from the plan. I am proud of the industry and look forward to seeing them move forward with the plan.”
Under the goals of the strategic plan, Virginia’s nuclear industry will focus on four key areas including advanced generation technologies, economic development, workforce education, and research & development in tandem with Virginia’s universities.
The plan lays out a series of near-term objectives including a roadmap of generation resources that will help Virginia meet its goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045 – possibly including generation targets for nuclear; public-private partnerships and research opportunities for advanced nuclear technologies; education and training programs to ensure Virginians have economic benefit and high-paying jobs; and improvements in STEM disciplines to make them more welcoming and inclusive of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
“As an industry, we are excited to be moving forward, with common goals and a shared mission, to increase the beneficial contribution made by nuclear to Virginia” said Tom DePonty, VNECA Chairman. “The strategic plan will ensure carbon-free nuclear energy continues to play a key role in our economic, and environmental health.”
April Wade, Executive Director of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium said, “This plan provides a blueprint for industry, research institutions, and the Commonwealth to work together to promote Virginia’s leadership role in nuclear energy solutions. The industry looks forward to implementing the plan for the benefit of all Virginians.”
The full plan can be downloaded on VNECA’s website.
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The Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium (VNEC) established by Virginia statute in 2013 and created in 2015, seeks to facilitate, encourage and advance the nuclear industry in Virginia through collaboration among industry participants, colleges and universities and not-for-profits in areas of need and interest to its members. To learn more about VNEC please go to www.virginianuclear.org.