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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, February 2024
WEB Exclusive story

A Nuclear Power Player Expands in Virginia

Framatome’s CEO tells Site Selection what’s behind the company’s $49.4 million, 515-job investment in Lynchburg.

Framatome North America headquarters on Old Forest Road in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Photo courtesy of Framatome

Kathy Williams is CEO of Framatome North America.
Kathy Williams is CEO of Framatome North America.

he next time you turn the lights on, you may want to thank a Virginia-based company that normally stays out of the spotlight.

That company is Framatome, a national leader in nuclear energy. From its North American headquarters in Lynchburg in south central Virginia, Framatome designs, builds and services the nuclear steam supply system that powers a nationwide nuclear energy sector that provides electric power to 36 million American homes.

You may not be familiar with Framatome, but don’t worry. This global company is doing just fine and is very comfortable remaining out of the national limelight. In fact, it’s doing so well that on December 14 it announced a $49.4 million expansion that will add 515 new jobs to its three-campus headquarters in Lynchburg, the Hill City of the South. The new jobs are expected to pay an average annual wage of $105,000.

Part of a French-owned conglomerate based in Paris, Framatome has been servicing the nuclear fuel industry in America for more than six decades. The firm services all types of reactor technologies and is even launching into outer space work.

Globally, the company employs more than 18,000 people. About 1,300 work at the North American HQ in Lynchburg, where the firm maintains its operational base on Old Forest Road, a research and processing site on Mt. Athos Road, and a training center on Mill Ridge Road.


“We are doing very well right now, we are seeing significant growth, and we are taking market share away from our competitors.” — Kathy Williams, CEO, Framatome North America


With annual revenues of US$4.5 billion, Framatome services 380-plus nuclear reactors worldwide. Growing demand for servicing reactors and their fuel technology is leading to a need for more workers at Framatome in Virginia.

Harvesting the Fruit of a Tri-State Site Search

The Old Dominion competed against sites in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to win this coveted project. The City of Lynchburg and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked to secure a $5 million grant to make the expansion possible.

Kathy Williams, CEO of Framatome North America, recently sat down with Kellea Hogan, vice president of human resources, Tori Gilmartin of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, and me in the CEO’s office in Lynchburg for an extended discussion on the future of the company.

“We are doing very well right now, we are seeing significant growth, and we are taking market share away from our competitors,” says Williams. “We have had a number of acquisitions in recent years, and that has fueled our growth.”

Framatome acquired Schneider Electric in 2018, the same year Framatome relocated its North American HQ from Charlotte to Lynchburg. “That acquisition gave us a competitive edge in instrumentation and control,” says Williams. “As we look at what’s happening with the nuclear business right now, in order to expand the life cycle of the plants, modernization of instrumentation and control products is extremely important.”

In the nuclear fuel business, she says, “we are exploring all kinds of opportunities. We are looking at new products and changing the fuel cycle from 18 months to 24 months.”

The extended fuel cycle cuts down on the number of outages, “which is exactly what our customers want,” says Williams. “We are also working to bring in more government contracts.”

A Quartet of Colleges Produce a Talent Pipeline

Framatome benefits by being in a Virginia corridor that supplies some of the best talent for the nuclear energy industry. Graduates from Virginia Tech, University of Virginia and Liberty University bring with them the engineering credentials that the company needs to remain globally competitive, says Williams. “We have added about 100 people in 2023, and we are about to add a whole lot more with this new expansion.”

Part of the company’s workforce solution is establishing a new Nuclear Technology Academy at nearby Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg. Located just a few miles from Framatome HQ, the CVCC campus on Wards Road has already graduated 20 nuclear tech students who went on to work at Framatome. The company’s goal is to have another 100 students go through the program over the next five years.

“The City of Lynchburg has been a great partner for us,” says Hogan. “At the end of the day, we need the best talent. That is why we are here in Lynchburg.”

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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