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Virginia enacts multiple laws aimed at developing SMRs

Virginia’s governor has expressed interest in bringing a small modular nuclear reactor to Southwest Virginia.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed multiple bills into Virginia law in the last week intended to promote the development of small modular reactors (SMRs).

One law, from identical HB 2386 and SB 1464 bills, would create the Virginia Power Innovation Fund. Money from the fund would be used solely for research and development of innovative energy technologies, including nuclear, hydrogen, carbon capture and utilization, and energy storage.

The law would also create the Virginia Power Innovation Program, using funds to establish a Virginia nuclear innovation hub and award competitive grants to support energy innovation.

Back in October Gov. Youngkin proposed $10 million in the upcoming state budget to create the innovation fund, with $5 million of this funding aimed at growing Virginia’s nuclear energy industry by establishing the innovation hub.

Funding would be for SMR site exploration, including in Southwest Virginia. Gov. Youngkin made the October announcement at a reclaimed mine site in Norton, Virginia in the heart of Southwest Virginia’s coalfield region, a possible location for an advanced nuclear or other energy facility.

Another bill signed by the Governor (HB 1779) would establish a fund for awarding competitive grants to any Virginia public or private university that seeks to establish or expand a nuclear education program. This is defined in the bill as an instructional program that leads to a degree or credential that specifically supports the nuclear power industry, including nuclear engineering and nuclear welding.

Source: Power Engineering