ABINGDON, Va. — Preliminary steps to try and secure funding for a pilot nuclear project are occurring in the run-up to his first biennial budget, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Thursday.
Establishing a small modular nuclear reactor to generate electricity in Southwest Virginia within a decade is part of the governor’s proposed comprehensive energy program and would be part of his first budget, which will be presented to the General Assembly next month.
“We’re working on all the appropriate amendments and submissions that have to go into the budget amendments in December. Then, of course, legislation in our short session that starts in January,” Youngkin said during a visit to Abingdon.
“I’m excited about it. I think Southwest Virginia can be so much. It can be an epicenter — not just for Virginia’s developments of the future of power, but the nation and the world,” the governor said. “The capabilities are extraordinary. It’s a really, really exciting time for Southwest Virginia in the world of energy.”
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Last month Youngkin unveiled an energy plan designed to harness nuclear, natural gas, renewables and new energy sources to satisfy the state’s ever-increasing energy needs with the goals of being reliable, affordable, competitive, innovative and environmentally friendly.
The plan recommends the commonwealth make strategic investments in innovative, emerging technologies, including hydrogen, carbon capture, storage and utilization, and, particularly, small modular nuclear reactors. It supports funding to initiate the goal of deploying a commercial SMR in Southwest Virginia within 10 years.
It aims to harness the technology of modular reactors, which power nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, to generate electricity for the power grid.
“He has essentially authorized the existing authority for, and we might actually carry legislation. So the policy office is trying to hammer all that out now. My guess is at least some of that will be carried by somebody in Southwest,” Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, said.
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