RD15 - Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority 2015 Annual Report

Executive Summary:
Charge and Responsibilities – In 2013, the General Assembly created the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (Authority) as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth for the purpose of:

• Making Virginia a national and global leader in nuclear energy, science and technology;

• Serving as an interdisciplinary study, research and information resource for nuclear energy in Virginia; and

• Establishing the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium (Consortium), a non-stock corporation responsible for conducting activities to achieve these goals.

Enclosed is the Authority’s 2015 Annual Report, which details its strategic plan, activities over the last year and recommendations to advance nuclear energy in Virginia.

Authority Activities – Since its establishment and organization in 2013, the Authority
worked diligently to:

• Set goals and define responsibilities for the Authority and the Consortium;

• Recruit Founding Members to establish the Consortium, securing commitments from nine companies and higher education institutions;

• Produce an inventory of nuclear education and industry assets in Virginia, illustrating that the nuclear sector is driving Virginia’s economy in every region, with high skilled jobs, research and technology development and generation of revenue at both the state and local level; and

• Provide technical support and policy recommendations to the development of the Virginia Energy Plan.

Recommendations to Advance Nuclear Energy in Virginia – The Authority offers the following priorities to policy makers to support and advance nuclear energy in Virginia:

1. Recognize and support Authority efforts to establish the Commonwealth as a national and global leader in nuclear energy, science and technology and serve as an interdisciplinary study, research and information resource for the Commonwealth on nuclear energy issues.

2. Leverage Virginia international corporate outreach and intergovernmental efforts to support the Virginia-based nuclear design, repair and installation industries. Virginia is home to global leaders in the nuclear energy sector, such as AREVA Inc., BWX Technologies, Inc., Bechtel and Newport News Shipbuilding. In addition, dozens of other companies located all across Virginia provide services, supplies and support to nuclear facilities inside the Commonwealth and globally. The nuclear sector drives Virginia’s economy in every region, creating highly skilled jobs, supporting research and generating revenues at the state and local level.

3. Virginia is home to two of only 31 nuclear engineering programs in the U.S. (Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech.) The Commonwealth should strengthen Virginia’s existing nuclear science, engineering and research programs to provide the pipeline of highly educated and highly skilled workers necessary to continue creating high-paying jobs for Virginians and to sustain our nuclear industry for the long term.

4. The Authority supports Governor Terry McAuliffe, Dominion, AREVA Inc. and others’ efforts to encourage the EPA to level the playing field and treat nuclear generation equitably to other non-emitting generation resources.

5. Virginia’s current diverse energy generation portfolio is a significant component to our low, stable energy prices and reliable service. The Authority supports efforts to maintain a diverse energy generation mix to avoid over-reliance on any single source of energy.

6. Regulatory certainty is important given the long-lead decisions required for the continued safe and efficient operation of existing nuclear assets and the substantial capital commitments associated with constructing new nuclear units. Virginia’s energy policy should view nuclear assets in light of their capacity to reliably deliver power and provide source diversity for an energy portfolio that achieves the emission reductions required by pending federal regulations.

7. Recognize and support nuclear energy issues and innovative nuclear technologies identified and pursued by the Consortium.