Repost from The Virginia Star.

Virginia Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and West Virginia Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) are partnering to create a framework to bring advanced nuclear technology to their states. West Virginia has recently repealed a ban on developing nuclear energy sources, and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin recently called for a “moonshot” – constructing a small modular reactor in southwest Virginia. In addition to addressing energy needs, leaders are hoping the push will bring economic and technological development to the economically-challenged areas.

“Virginia has been the beneficiary of nuclear power for many years,” Gilbert said in a Thursday press release. “Nothing works harder, longer, safer, or more reliably than a nuclear power plant. Small nuclear reactors are the next wave of energy technology, and Virginia should be an East Coast hub for its development and deployment. It’s important that rural and economically challenged areas, and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a whole, benefit from the innovation, jobs, and investment small modular nuclear technology will bring to the electric grid.”

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a new type of nuclear reactor technology that has advantages including lower site footprints.

“Recent federal legislation signed into law by President Biden calls for a massive infusion of federal dollars through tax credits, grants, and other funds for clean energy investment to include SMRs in rural areas and areas around coal mine sites,” Gilbert’s release states.

“I believe small modular nuclear reactors and technology are the wave of the clean energy future. These units can be built on old coal sites and is one way to bring jobs back to our coal dependent communities,” said Hanshaw. “Imagine how we could transform West Virginia for the better with high paying jobs, a better skilled workforce, additional tax revenue for localities in need of better schools and roads.”