West Virginia House Speaker Hanshaw working with Virginia House Speaker Gilbert on effort
WV Press Release Sharing
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, is joining Virginia Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, in forging a path the pair envisions will become the nation’s blueprint for cultivating advanced nuclear-powered energy sources and cutting-edge innovation.
Hanshaw recently met with Gilbert to discuss the opportunities both states are poised to provide for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, or SMRs.
“These units can be built on old coal mining sites, and we already know we have the skilled machinists, engineers, welders and fabricators who can support the nuclear industry,” Hanshaw said. “Virginia has experience with nuclear already, and just as we locked arms with our border states to the north on shale gas development, we believe we are uniquely situated to collaborate to lead the way in this emerging economy, and so together we are putting a serious focus on doing just that in the coming year.”
The next wave of nuclear power is expected to provide clean, reliable, affordable power while creating new jobs and economic diversity.
“Virginia has already benefitted from nuclear power for many years,” Gilbert said. “Nothing works harder, longer, safer or more reliably than a nuclear power plant.”
Hanshaw said the two state leaders are eager to develop an East Coast hub for the development and deployment of small nuclear reactors, affirming that no region in the country will be more welcoming to the innovation, the jobs and the investment SMRs provide.
“No two states are better positioned to work together on becoming the most hospitable location for the next generation of nuclear power facilities,” Hanshaw added.
West Virginia notably repealed its state ban on the development of nuclear energy sources last year, and recent federal legislation calls for a massive investment in clean energy, which includes SMRs, to be made in rural areas as well as areas near coal mine sites.
“The unique nature of our rural areas once fully dependent on the coal industry are now ready for a high-tech, clean energy transformation,” Gilbert said.
West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts and Virginia Chamber President Barry Duval jointly issued a comment saying their two chambers share a mission “to promote economic development in our states; we stand ready to support this effort in bringing much-needed jobs to the coalfield region.”
Both legislative leaders are exploring policy proposals to ensure the development, construction and operation of nuclear reactors and small modular reactors, as well as adjacent educational opportunities, are encouraged to the greatest possible extent when both states convene their regular legislative sessions Jan. 11, 2023, and Jan. 13, 2023, respectively.