RD507 - Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority - 2017 Annual Report

Executive Summary:

Charge and Responsibilities

In 2013, the General Assembly created the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (the Authority) as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth, and the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium (VNEC) as a nonstock corporation, for the following purposes:

• 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

• Conducting activities in collaboration to achieve these goals.

Enclosed is the Authority’s 2017 Annual Report, which details its strategic plan, activities over the last year and recommendations to advance nuclear energy in Virginia. In addition, the report also includes an annual update of VNEC activities.

Authority Activities

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

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

• Recruit members to the Consortium, securing commitments from eight companies and higher education institutions;

• Produce an annual 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;

• Provide technical support and policy recommendations to the development of the Virginia Energy Plan and its biennial status updates; and

• Provide information and expertise to stakeholders, elected and non-elected officials, and policymakers at all levels of government.


The Authority offers the following recommendations to policy makers to support and advance nuclear energy in Virginia:

1) Recognize and support Authority and VNEC 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 the efforts of Governor Terry McAuliffe and his Administration and companies such as Dominion, AREVA Inc. and others to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency 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 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 Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium;

8) Encourage the Governor, Secretary of Natural Resources, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy and Deputy Attorney General for Commerce, Environment and Technology to consider the critical role nuclear energy can and should play in carrying out the carbon reduction goals established by Executive Order 57 and Executive Directive 11;

9) Support legislation to clarify that expenses associated with re-licensing a nuclear powered electric generation unit should receive the same regulatory treatment and cost recovery as investments in new around-the-clock generation.