Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies and Lockheed Martin plan to build a nuclear-propelled spacecraft called DRACO, shown here in this illustration courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

* * *

Lynchburg-based BWXT to create nuclear reactor, fuel for spacecraft

Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies announced Wednesday it will make a nuclear reactor and fuel for the world’s first demonstration spacecraft to use nuclear thermal propulsion.

BWXT Advanced Technologies, a division of BWXT, will deliver an assembled, fueled reactor to go into DARPA’s Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, or DRACO, which is being developed by a team led by the Bethesda, Maryland-based aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, according to a news release.

“The reactor’s energy will enable propulsion that allows DRACO to maneuver through space with great speed and agility for an extended period of time,” BWXT said in the release.

BWXT said the system uses uranium fuel to “rapidly heat a super-cold gas, such as liquid hydrogen. As the gas is heated, it expands quickly and creates thrust to move the spacecraft more efficiently than typical chemical combustion engines.”

“The spacecraft is targeted for a 2027 launch from Earth in ‘cold’ status (meaning that the reactor is turned off as a part of launch safety protocols) by a conventional rocket, and then the reactor will be powered on once the spacecraft attains an appropriate location above low earth orbit,” BWXT said.

BWXT’s work will be done primarily at its Mt. Athos Road facility in Campbell County, outside Lynchburg. BWXT, which provides nuclear fuel and components for the U.S. military and is developing other technologies such as nuclear medicine, employs about 2,600 people in the Lynchburg area, most of whom work at that site. 

* * *

New River CC to offer EMT program in fall semester

New River Community College will offer the emergency medical technician career studies certificate program this fall. The 16-credit program consists of five courses that can all be completed in one semester.

The program prepares students to assess and care for patients at the basic life support level. Students who successfully complete the required courses can sit for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians EMT certification exam.

Classes begin Aug. 23. For more information, visit or contact Sheila Hart at 540-674-3600, ext. 4204 or

* * *

Danville seeks designs for holiday ornament

Danville Parks and Recreation is calling for design submissions from the community for the ornament sold at its annual Community Holiday Light Show.

Submissions must be Danville-related and feature the iconic HOME Sign element somewhere in the design. Previous ornament designs included a train over the river, a trolley in town, smokestacks from the Schoolfield site and a combination of Danville landmarks.  

Other guidelines: 

  • Artwork must be submitted by Aug. 18.
  • Designs must fit in a 2.5-inch circle.
  • Rights must be released to Danville Parks and Recreation to use the artwork.
  • The year number 2023 must be included in the design.

Artists interested in submitting can review the online submission form at this link