Today, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the appointment of Chris Jones, CEO of Middle Tennessee Electric, to the Tennessee Nuclear Energy Advisory Council. The council was created earlier this year to position Tennessee as a national leader for nuclear energy innovation and advancement.
Jones joins appointees from a broad range of industry experience. The council will build upon the state’s legacy in nuclear innovation and drive continued investment to create a nuclear energy ecosystem for the future of Tennessee, including business development, government relations and stewardship of natural resources.
“Tennessee can lead America’s energy independence and deliver continued economic growth with safe, reliable and clean nuclear energy for the future,” said Gov. Lee. “I am confident that these appointees will use their unique industry expertise to ensure that Tennessee is the top state for nuclear energy companies to invest and succeed, creating quality jobs and greater opportunity for Tennesseans.”
“This is an investment in Tennessee’s future, and we are fortunate to have a proven leader like Chris representing local utilities and each and every Tennessean who depends upon them for reliable and affordable electricity to power their homes and businesses,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “New nuclear development like small modular reactors is the path to a sustainable tomorrow, bolstering economic growth, fostering energy independence and providing Tennessee – and the nation – with clean, abundant, and reliable energy. We commend the administration for taking this bold step to extend Tennessee’s legacy as a leader in the nuclear sector.”
Other members appointed to the council include:
- Commissioner David Salyers – Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
- Braden Stover – Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
- Director Patrick Sheehan – Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
- Dr. Loong Yong, Ph.D., Spectra Tech – Congressional Delegation Designee
- Adam DeMella, ADG Strategies – Congressional Delegation Designee
- Don Moul – Tennessee Valley Authority Representative
- Jeff Smith – Oak Ridge National Laboratory Representative
- Dr. Wes Hines, Ph.D., University of Tennessee – Higher Education Representative
- Tracy Boatner, East Tennessee Economic Council – Workforce Development Representative
- Mayor Terry Frank, Anderson County – Local Government Representative
- Jennifer Stone, Thompson Engineering, Inc. – Energy Production Representative
- Dr. Hash Hashemian, Ph.D., Analysis and Measurement Services – Nuclear Industry Representative
- Michelle Amante-Harstine – Member At-Large
- Blake Harris – Member At-Large
- Steve Jones – Member At-Large
- Maria Korsnick – Member At-Large
- Dr. Padma Raghavan, Ph.D. – Member At-Large
In addition to signing Executive Order 101 this year, Gov. Lee also partnered with the Tennessee General Assembly to create a $50 million Nuclear Fund in the state’s Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget. The fund will establish a nuclear development and manufacturing ecosystem built for the future of Tennessee by providing grants and assistance to support nuclear power-related businesses that choose to relocate or grow in the state.