In the pleasant, sunny afternoon of July 1, 2015, local and state officials led by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, joined by over 200 community leaders and stakeholders, witnessed the first of four thousand large concrete-filled steel piles to firmly pierce the ground, which will form the support foundation for the massive structures of the new Holtec Technology Campus. The Campus will house Holtec’s corporate engineering center, two large manufacturing plants, a reactor test loop and a number of ancillary facilities. Calling the future Holtec Technology Campus a “cathedral of industry”, Dr. Singh proclaimed that, “… our Campus will be the place where our innovations will be developed, nurtured, nourished and manufactured.” Firmly predicting that the city of Camden will be the birthplace for Holtec’s transformative “walk away safe” small modular reactor, SMR-160.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony was officiated by Camden Mayor Dana Redd, who thanked Dr. Singh for his commitment to Camden by investing more than $260 million dollars to create a state-of-the-art Technology Campus on the Camden waterfront, which she claimed, “will not only transform Camden, but also the region.” Adding that the Technology Campus represents a “commitment of jobs both for the short term and the long term … these are real jobs for real people to get the economic engine started again in our city.”
Holtec President and CEO, Dr. Singh informed the assembled audience that, though the project team has cleared the site, removing all of the hazardous material in remarkable time, the extensive amount of hazardous material has slowed the project, declaring, “… we have taken 50 acres in Camden and made this land pristine and clean without a trace of hazardous material.” Dr. Singh repeated his oft-stated reason for selecting the city of Camden as the location for the new Campus, “the residents of Camden need a path out of hereditary poverty. We, as a successful company, have an obligation to show them that pathway to middle class.”
President and Chief Operating Officer of PSEG, Mr. William Levis, hailed the expanding partnership between PSEG and Holtec because “Holtec is the best at what they do.” Mr. Levis said he has a shared vision with Dr. Singh that, “this [Camden] will be the birthplace and the center of the universe for the small modular reactor whose benefits of nuclear power – that is a safe, reliable, and clean source of energy – will be felt throughout the world.”
Congressman Donald Norcross, a longtime resident of Camden, pointing towards the now cleared area on the grounds of the former New York Shipyard, reminisced, “right out here, the NS Savanah was built, the first nuclear powered merchant ship in American history. And here we are today about to make history again where the next generation of plants to produce clean, reliable, carbon-free, energy will be built.
Lieutenant Governor Guadagno stressed that the state officials and Mayor Redd worked together on every level and across the aisle to make this project a reality. Extolling Holtec’s role, she stated, “Today, I think it’s fair to say that in addition to Campbell’s Soup, Holtec is the anchor tenant for the city of Camden.” Lieutenant Governor Guadagno thanked Dr. Singh for his commitment to the state of New Jersey and the city of Camden by making the largest private investment in Camden history.