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Shapiro announces continued state investment in Pittsburgh-area nuclear energy project

Four people in hard hats walk around a cavernous industrial building with big windows.
Julia Zenkevich
90.5 WESA
Westinghouse signed a lease for a 87,420-square-foot building in Etna to create a plant that will manufacture non-nuclear parts of a microreactor.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro came to the Pittsburgh area Tuesday to announce continued state support for clean energy investments in the region.

The state Department of Community and Economic Development awarded a $1,083,250 Pennsylvania First grant to Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse to help the company establish a new facility in Etna. The plant will manufacture non-nuclear parts for a portable nuclear microreactor called the eVinci.

The AM Group, a New York real estate private equity firm that redeveloped the building where the plant will be located, also received more than $3 million in state funding for the project. Westinghouse is investing at least $18 million in the facility and the creation of jobs there.

Officials touted the eVinci as a huge step forward in western Pennsylvania’s “innovation story.”

“It will enable a powerful source of energy to be portable, reliable and safe enough to deploy in areas that need it most — places like disaster-relief scenarios or remote locations,” said DCED Secretary Rick Siger. “And as we shift to a clean energy future, we need solutions like eVinci so we can have flexible, carbon-free energy sources that meet our diverse and growing energy demands.”

Company officials estimate the Etna plant will create more than 40 new jobs to develop transportable nuclear battery technology in the next three years.

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Compared to typical nuclear reactors, which may need more than a square mile for their operations, the commercial-sized eVinci is small. The 25-foot-long reactor system could be moved on the back of a truck to generate power for hospitals, rural or off-grid communities, remote mining operations and more, said Westinghouse President and CEO Patrick Fragman.

“Most of these users, if not all of these users today, rely on costly and polluting fossil fuels. eVinci will replace that with safe, cost-competitive and carbon-free nuclear energy,” he said Tuesday.

Local officials said Westinghouse’s plan dovetails with the region’s planned energy transition strategy.

“In Pittsburgh, innovation is considered our most abundant resource. In many ways, the region is the birthplace of American energy, including commercial nuclear energy from Westinghouse,” Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman said in a statement. She referred to the world’s first commercial nuclear reactor, established in 1954 in Shippingport, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

“But today, we’re pushing forward toward what’s next in energy,” she said. “And we are focused on a holistic, strategic energy transition to achieve low-carbon goals while powering the industries that contribute to strong and inclusive economic growth.”

Shapiro said his administration is doubling down on Pennsylvania’s energy strategy.

“It's really important to note that we do not have to sacrifice the energy economy or our position as a leader in the nation or across the globe in the name of combating climate change,” he said. “That is a false choice. We can do both. And Westinghouse is a great example of that.”

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at