A new partnership is being formed to explore opportunities to grow nuclear and fuel cell jobs in the Midlands.
The Savannah River National Laboratory has teamed up with EngenuitySC – a public/private partnership focused on developing and growing the Midlands’ knowledge-based economy.
The lab will formally join EngenuitySC’s NuHub initiative, a group of public, private, higher education and workforce development partners working to create jobs in the nuclear industry, according to a press release.
And because of its work on hydrogen fuel cell technologies, the national laboratory also will provide technical expertise to Columbia’s Fuel Cell Collaborative for select projects over the next several months, the release said.
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The partnership will help market new innovations from the national laboratory, EngenuitySC communications manager Frank Avery said.
“We want to make sure we have the state’s top assets involved” in economic development, which includes the laboratory, he said. “It’s an early stage partnership – they want to get a feedback and see where these partnerships can grow and thrive. This is a long-term plan.”
National laboratory director Terry Michalske will join the EngenuitySC executive committee, co-chaired by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and USC President Harris Pastides, in the coming weeks. The entire EngenuitySC executive committee for 2013-2014 will be announced later this summer.
The national lab will work with EngenuitySC partners the University of South Carolina and the SmartState Program (formerly the S.C. Centers for Economic Excellence) to “provide insight and expertise to the organization on trends and opportunities for South Carolina to lead the nuclear industry in next-generation technologies and applications,” the release said.
Most recently, NuHub partnered with technology company Holtec International to compete for a $225 million Department of Energy grant to develop a pilot small modular nuclear reactor program at the laboratory. That award has yet to be announced.
Winning the award would support the development, licensing, construction, commissioning and operation of the small reactors.
The Fuel Cell Collaborative is a five-member collaboration between S.C. Research Authority, the city of Columbia, USC, Midlands Technical College and EngenuitySC. It was launched in 2006 to boost hydrogen and fuel cell initiatives in Columbia and the region.
South Carolina has been consistently ranked a “Top 5 Fuel Cell State” by the Fuel Cells 2000 organization due in large part to activities in the Midlands and the Upstate, the release said.