Charlotte will play host to two companies developing a new type of nuclear reactor. Oregon-based NuScale Power has announced it will open a new office in SouthPark and will hire 100 employees, after seeing an opportunity in the struggles of its Charlotte competitor.
NuScale is developing a smaller, less powerful nuclear reactor that can largely be assembled in a factory and shipped off. Babcock & Wilcox, based in Ballantyne, is also developing a small modular reactor. Both companies won investment from the U.S. Department of Energy, over a field of contenders.
Babcock & Wilcox got a head start but has slowed production this year. The company recently filed a notice of mass layoffs from its test site in Lynchburg, Va., called a WARN Notice. NuScale’s chief commercial officer, Mike McGough, says his company saw an opportunity for strong, experienced engineers.
“Frankly when they issued the WARN notifications to 211 people, I got 211 LinkedIn requests,” says McGough. “I’m exaggerating a little bit, but …”
The company has already posted 67 open positions on its website, and plans to hire 100 this year. And, McGough says, the office will give his company an East Coast presence, near Duke Energy and others, as they try to sell their new technology.
“Oregon is not what you would consider the hub of nuclear energy related activities,” says McGough. “Charlotte is what I would consider a very strong hub.”
NuScale’s parent company, Fluor, already has a presence in SouthPark, and McGough says the new office will be in the same building. So far, the company has spent about $200 million on the project, and aims to complete the first reactor in the early 2020s.