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Columbia launches nuclear collaborative

Staff Report

Published April 19, 2011

A collaborative of Columbia’s public, private, higher education and work force development leaders working through EngenuitySC has launched NuHub, an initiative to support growth of the nuclear industry in the region.

The group aims to continue emphasis on creating a strong knowledge economy and to establish the Midstate region as a center for alternative energy and clean technology, which comprises more than just Lexington and Richland counties.

NuHub’s mission is to leverage resources and infrastructure for economic development and job creation opportunities in the nuclear industry to establish the region as a leader and hub for nuclear energy innovation.

“Within the next 15 years, there will be major capital investment in nuclear power generation deployed within a 100-mile radius of Columbia, so this presents a significant opportunity for the Midstate region to expand nuclear and other clean technologies,” said Steve Byrne, co-chairman of NuHub.

NuHub’s executive committee comprises broad, collaborative leadership representing the region’s nuclear assets and supporters. They include: co-chairman Byrne,  chief operating officer and executive vice president for generation and transmission at SCE&G; co-chairman Sonny White, president of Midlands Technical College; Don Herriott, director of Innovista Partnerships for the University of South Carolina; and Donald Goldbach, director of manufacturing strategy of Westinghouse Electric Co.

A Leadership Committee and Advisory Board will provide community input to NuHub and will consist of a diverse range of stakeholders. Regional participants include representatives from the Good to Great Foundation of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, SCRA, Midlands Technical College, the University of South Carolina, Westinghouse, SCANA, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC, Department of Defense, Shaw Group, Tetra Tech, and local community and business leaders.

“The Midstate region possesses a unique blend of talented work force, existing sites and resources combined with an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit,” White said. “These assets contribute to positioning our region as a potential national hub for the nuclear industry, and Midlands Technical College is proud to partner in this endeavor as we prepare the next generation of South Carolina’s work force to take advantage of these new economic development opportunities.”

One focus of NuHub is supporting the deployment of small modular reactors to support national and international energy initiatives.

Columbia will host an small modular reactor development and production conference this week, for which NuHub and its partners have been working to plan. This conference is anticipated to attract agencies around the world and industry players like Westinghouse, Areva and General Electric along with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Army and utilities across the nation, including TVA and SCANA.

“The key to growing our knowledge-based economy in the Midstate region is leveraging our existing resources and seeking opportunities where we can be a leader,” said Neil McLean, executive director of EngenuitySC. “The SMR Conference is a great example of this and presents a major opportunity for us to make an impression and show companies why they would have a competitive advantage if they located or expanded their operations in the Midstate,” he said.

Read more about the nuclear industry in the Midstate and the creation of NuHub in the April 4 and April 18 issues of the Columbia Regional Business Report.

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