News Opinion Sports Videos Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Events Search/Archive Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Calendar Contact Us Advertisements Search/Archive Public Notices

Pioneering spirit key to a thriving energy industry

Oak Ridge is fondly referred to as the Secret City.

But it’s no secret that our community is home to some of the most innovative and historic energy sites in the world.

From the old K-25 plant to the Y-12 National Security Complex and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge has a rich and important story. What has been accomplished in the rolling hills of Anderson and Roane counties has had international significance, and we remain a leader in nuclear innovation.

The city of Oak Ridge was built for exploration and scientific discovery as part of the Manhattan Project to create the world’s first atomic bomb.

I’m proud of this history and the role we played in ending World War II, which ultimately saved many lives.

As a state legislator representing Anderson County, I’m committed to preserving this pioneering spirit to allow our energy industry to thrive.

In last year’s budget, I was pleased to support Gov. Bill Lee’s $50 million Nuclear Energy Fund, which will help advance the entire state’s nuclear industry.

The program provides incentives for nuclear power-related businesses to move to the Volunteer State, helping cement our place as one of the country’s most-effective energy centers.

It was announced in February that the fund’s first recipient will establish operations in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Bull Run Steam Plant.

At one time, the Bull Run plant produced the highest volume of steam in the world. Soon, however, the location will house a state-of-the-art stellarator fusion prototype machine, expanding fusion research and development operations in Anderson County.

The nuclear fund is already paying off, and I’m sure it will bring many more important businesses to Tennessee. Furthermore, it ensures that we, as a state and country, continue to prioritize innovation over stagnation.

Nuclear isn’t the only prevalent energy industry in Tennessee; natural gas, hydroelectric power and crude oil are also important energy industries here. With such vast resources, it’s paramount to our state’s success and security to make policies that allow them to thrive.

To that end, I sponsored legislation in 2017 creating the State Energy Policy Council, which is tasked with formulating a coordinated energy policy for Tennessee. The group’s ideas are then relayed to the governor and the legislature so we can ensure the prosperity of Tennessee’s energy industry through effective laws, policies and programs.

Our state’s success depends on many factors, and being good stewards of our environment and energy supply is extremely important. I will continue meeting with and listening to the feedback of industry experts to ensure I support legislation and policies to move Anderson County and the entire state in the right direction.

I’ve always been proud of Oak Ridge’s history and innovative spirit.

For this reason, supporting beneficial energy policies is one of my top priorities.

As long as I have the pleasure of serving you in Nashville, I’ll be committed to preserving our community’s historic role in the energy industry and helping foster the nuclear renaissance in Tennessee.

State Rep. John Ragan represents House District 33, which includes part of Anderson County.