Youngkin and other nuclear proponents say Southwest Virginia’s abundant abandoned coal mine land and the need for jobs and economic development make the region an ideal spot for a small modular nuclear reactor. Critics say they’ve been left out of the discussion.
Small modular nuclear reactors are about a third of the size of typical reactors. There are no SMRs operating in the U.S., but experts say Virginia is equipped to build one if approvals go through.
The announcement comes after Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared support for such a reactor in Southwest Virginia.
Youngkin says state must be “all in” on nuclear energy.