NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Governor Bill Lee has announced the appointees of the new Tennessee Nuclear Energy Advisory Council, which is intended to position Tennessee as a national leader for nuclear energy innovation and advancement.

A release sent on Thursday said the council was created by Executive Order 101 in May and will help build on the state’s legacy in nuclear innovation and push for continue to push for investment to create a nuclear energy ecosystem for the future in Tennessee.

“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.”

According to the release, Governor Lee appointed:

  • 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
  • Chris Jones, Middle Tennessee Electric – Utilities 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
  • Ken Rueter – Member At-Large
  • Lang Wiseman – Member At-Large

Two others were also appointed to the Council. Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally appointed Chairman Ken Yager, a state senator, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton appointed Chairman Clark Boyd, a state representative.

“Energy independence will be critical to our nation’s future success,” said Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge). “The development and expansion of clean and efficient nuclear power is the path to that independence. Tennessee is uniquely positioned to contribute mightily to innovation and advancement in the nuclear energy sector. I am grateful to Governor Lee for creating this council and to Senator Yager for agreeing to serve. Another great opportunity for Tennessee to lead the nation.”

“Chairman Clark Boyd has been a leader in the House on energy issues and championed many conservative energy policies for our state,” said Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “He will be a great asset to the Nuclear Energy Advisory Council due to his passion for creating innovative and long-term energy solutions that will make Tennessee a national leader.”

This year, Lee has also partnered with the Tennessee General Assembly to create a $50 million Nuclear Fund in the state’s 2023-2024 fiscal year budget.

Lee proposed the fund in his State of the State address in February and it is expected to establish a nuclear development and manufacturing ecosystem, built for the future of Tennessee. It will provide grants and assistance to support nuclear power-related businesses that choose to relocate or grow in Tennessee.