CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — On Friday morning, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) — a leading supplier of nuclear components and fuel to the U.S. government — will invest millions of dollars to create a manufacturing and research and development center in Campbell County that showcases their services and technology.
The “BWXT Innovation Campus” will sit on an 11-acre property adjacent to the company’s existing facility, according to officials.
The governor’s office says that Virginia beat out three other states for the project, which is expected to create 97 new jobs with an average salary of more than $115,000 per year.
“BWXT’s continued investments in the Commonwealth are a testament to our world-class higher education institutions and talented workforce,” said Northam. “When we invest in people, companies invest in Virginia—and that is exactly what has happened. We look forward to BWXT’s continued success.”
Officials describe BWXT as a Fortune 1000 and Defense News Top 100 manufacturing and engineering innovator that provides safe and effective nuclear solutions for global security, clean energy, environmental remediation, nuclear medicine, and space exploration.
Overall, BWXT has approximately 6,700 employees and 12 major operating sites in the U.S. and Canada. The company is headquartered in Lynchburg, though, and currently has three locations in central Virginia that employ a total of 2,630 workers, according to a statement from Northam’s office on Friday, Nov. 19.
In addition, BWXT joint ventures reportedly provide management and operations at more than a dozen U.S. Department of Energy and NASA facilities.
“It is exciting to see BWXT expand and diversify its already extensive operations in central Virginia and Campbell County with this new Innovation Campus,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said. “The creation of 97 new, high-paying jobs is a welcome addition to the region’s economy. We thank BWXT for its investment in the Commonwealth and look forward to our continuing partnership with the company.”
Friday’s statement says that BWXT plans to relocate 150 employees from nearby facilities to the new campus, as well as its Nuclear Services Group and research, development, and production center for new microreactors and nuclear fuels designed for space exploration and national security.
According to officials, BWXT expects to make significant investments in capital improvements to the facility, along with machinery, tools, and tangible personal property through 2023 to support the anticipated growth in the microreactor and fuels business.
When fully developed, the governor’s office says the Innovation Campus will serve as an exhibit of the company’s “factory of the future” for visiting customers like NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.
“Campbell County and Central Virginia have been home to our thriving nuclear manufacturing business for 65 years,” said BWXT Government Operations President Dr. Rob Smith. “BWXT plans to continue to invest locally in the company, our employees, community partners, and schools to extend that legacy. We’re grateful for the support of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Campbell County, and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.”
In order to secure the project for the Commonwealth, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked alongside Campbell County and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.
Not only did Northam approve a $400,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Campbell County with the project, but a performance-based grant of $700,000 from the Virginia Investment Performance Grant — which is designed to encourage continued capital investment by existing Virginia companies — was also given.
The Virginia Jobs Investment Program is set to provide funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities.
“Campbell County is excited to join our state and regional partners to celebrate the expansion of BWXT,” Campbell County Administrator Frank Rogers said. “BWXT has a long history in Campbell County, and we are grateful for its strong corporate citizenship as both an employer and a supporter of community programs. We look forward to the continued growth and advancement that this remarkable investment will bring to the nuclear technology field and to our region.”
“BWXT is a long-time innovator and partner in the Lynchburg region, and an excellent employer,” said Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance Chief Executive Officer and Chief Economic Development Officer Megan Lucas. “This was a competitive project between Virginia and three other states, and the fact that our region was selected speaks volumes about the competitive advantages our region provides. We are proud that BWXT continues to choose to invest into our region of Virginia. This new Innovation Campus will retain young, local talent from area universities and create many quality jobs and new technologies that will propel us to greater heights in healthcare, energy, and space exploration.”
“Congratulations to BWXT for investing again in Campbell County and the central Virginia region,” state Sen. Stephen Newman said. “This new facility will help grow the manufacturing of coated fuel, create a medical isotope pilot program, and encourage innovative technologies within the company’s space program. All of this will further cement the region as a leader in global cutting edge nuclear solutions. And, more importantly, the 97 new jobs will positively impact the lives of individuals and families in the community.”
“It is exciting to see that BWXT has the same confidence in Virginia that Virginia has within itself,” said Del. Matt Fariss. “BWXT has been a great partner and a huge part of central Virginia’s economy for a long time and we look forward to continuing to grow that relationship for many years to come.”
For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list
Get breaking news, weather, and sports delivered to your smartphone with the WFXR News app available on Apple and Android.