Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc., which supplies nuclear components and fuel to the U.S. government, will invest millions of dollars locally to create a manufacturing and research and development center to showcase its services and technology, officials said Friday.
The new center, called the BWXT Innovation Campus, will sit on 11 acres next to the company’s existing facility in Campbell County, according to a news release from Gov. Ralph Northam.
Virginia competed with three other states for the project, which is expected to create 97 new jobs with an average expected salary of more than $115,000 per year, the release states.
“BWXT’s continued investments in the Commonwealth are a testament to our world-class higher education institutions and talented workforce,” Northam said in the release. “When we invest in people, companies invest in Virginia — and that is exactly what has happened. We look forward to BWXT’s continued success.”
BWXT (NYSE:BWXT) has approximately 6,700 employees and 12 major operating sites in the U.S. and Canada, and is involved in joint ventures at more than a dozen U.S. Department of Energy and NASA facilities. BWXT has 2,630 workers in Central Virginia, most of whom work at the company’s Mt. Athos site in Campbell County.
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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, the release states.
BWXT expects to make significant investments at the facility through 2023. When fully developed, the Innovation Campus will serve as an exhibit of the company’s “factory of the future” for visiting customers that include NASA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, the governor’s office said.
“Campbell County and Central Virginia have been home to our thriving nuclear manufacturing business for 65 years,” BWXT Government Operations President Rob Smith said. “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.”
Northam approved a $400,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Campbell County with the project. A $700,000 performance-based state grant of $700,000 also was given. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“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.”
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