by Heather B. Hayes
Virginia Commonwealth University has added a nuclear engineering track to its master’s in engineering degree program at a time when the state’s largest electric utility is considering the construction of a new nuclear reactor.
The program currently has 25 students, many of whom are employees of Dominion Resources Inc. The 30-credit course of study includes nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering, as well as business and finance subjects.
Dominion decided to help fund the VCU program for several reasons, says company spokesman Richard Zuercher: The utility soon will lose many of its nuclear engineers to retirement, and it may expand its use of nuclear power.
In November, Dominion filed a request with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a third nuclear reactor at its North Anna Power Station in Louisa County. The company has not committed to building the plant, but it wants to keep the option open as statewide demand for power increases.
The nuclear engineering program is not intended solely for Dominion, says Georgia Esposito, a spokeswoman for the VCU College of Engineering. The use of nuclear materials is widespread in Virginia, she notes. Other likely employers include shipbuilding companies, nuclear services firms and hospitals.
For the Record
-Access, a Richmond information technology company, chose Punch, a Richmond-based advertising agency, as its agency of record. Punch will handle advertising, marketing materials and online presence for the company. (News release)
The University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and the Virginia Community College System entered into a partnership with Rolls Royce as part of the company’s plans to build a $100 million jet engine plant in Prince George County. Two new research centers will be built, one at the plant and the other at U.Va. The commonwealth will fund new teaching positions, renovate mechanical engineering labs at Tech and U.Va. and add a manufacturing minor at U.Va. (The Daily Progress)
Sam’s East Inc. bought 16.4 acres near Interstate 64 and Laburnum Avenue in Henrico County from Laburnum Associates LLC for $3 million. Plans call for construction of a Sam’s Club in the White Oak Village development. (News release)
BH Rosenberg LLC bought the 700 Building in central Richmond from Wells Fargo Bank for $8.2 million in an investment move. The 18-story, 182,000-square-foot office building is located at 700 E. Main St. (News release)
The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond received the American Automobile Association’s Five Diamond Award for the 15th consecutive year. The Five Diamond designation is held by only 100 hotels nationwide. (News release)
MBM Marketing of Richmond won the American Bankers Association’s award for best 2006 annual report for a financial institution under $500 million in assets. The annual report was for National Capital Bank of Washington. (News release)