Virginia, West Virginia Leaders to Collaborate on Joint State Efforts for Next Generation Energy Policy


Virginia and West Virginia

RICHMOND – The next generation of energy in Virginia and West Virginia is nuclear.

Virginia Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County and West Virginia Speaker Roger Hanshaw announced today they would be working jointly to bring advanced nuclear-powered energy sources and cutting-edge innovation to their respective states.

Ensuring that Virginia and West Virginia become national leaders in the next wave of nuclear power will not only provide clean, reliable, and affordable power for their citizens and businesses, the joint effort will help ensure citizens in the rural and economically challenged regions of their states benefit from job creation, diverse tax-base, educational opportunities, and economic diversity this energy technology will provide.

“Virginia has been the beneficiary of nuclear power for many years,” said Gilbert. “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.”

West Virginia recently repealed its state ban on the development of nuclear energy sources, which now opens the door for major new economic development and energy options.

“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.”

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.

“No two states are better positioned to work together on incentivizing and locating next generation nuclear power facilities than West Virginia and Virginia,” said Gilbert. “The unique nature of our rural areas once fully dependent on the coal industry are now ready for a high-tech, clean energy transformation.”

West Virginia Chamber President Steve Roberts and Virginia Chamber President Barry Duval said “our chambers’ mission is to promote economic development in our states. We stand ready to support this effort in bringing much needed jobs to the coalfield region.”

The West Virginia Legislature convenes on January 13, 2023 and the Virginia General Assembly convenes on January 11, 2023.

Both legislative leaders are developing the framework that would make their states leaders in advanced nuclear reactors and small modular reactors by creating incentives to promote their development, construction, and operation, as well as strengthening educational opportunities.