Jefferson Lab Principal Scientist Reappointed to Commonwealth Board

  • Andrew Hutton

Andrew Hutton has been reappointed to a second four-year term on the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – A passion for particle accelerators and pursuing technologies to benefit society has made Andrew Hutton an expert on technologies beneficial to nuclear energy. Now, the principal scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility can continue to better those efforts. Commonwealth Governor Ralph Northam has appointed Hutton to a second four-year term on the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority (VNECA).

The VNECA was established to help make Virginia a leader in nuclear energy and to serve as “an interdisciplinary study, research and information resource for the Commonwealth on nuclear energy issues.” According to Hutton, this offers members of the VNECA the wherewithal to effect real progress in bringing forward new technologies.

“We have an opportunity to make an impact through recommending, proposing and suggesting,” he said.

According to its mission, VNECA serves as an “interdisciplinary business development, research, training and information resource on nuclear energy.” Recently, the authority has collectively worked to design a research facility in Southwest Virginia. This area currently is less nuclear-energy focused.

“This hub would be a place where everyone could work together, and students could come and learn about small modular reactors (SMRs) and existing nuclear power stations,” explained Hutton.

One of Hutton’s foremost goals for this appointment includes plans to have additional SMRs built and installed at existing nuclear power stations.

“Building nuclear reactors is exceedingly expensive and time consuming, so the commission has worked to get a multitude of SMRs built in factories and installed,” Hutton explained.

This approach is safer than building traditional facilities, he says, because the construction process includes lessons learned from decades of experience. It also makes use of space on sites that already have the staffing and resources to generate nuclear power safely.

Hutton’s other main goal is to tackle the problem of nuclear waste with technology.

“High-energy proton accelerators could be used to clean up nuclear waste,” Hutton said.

In the coming four years of his appointment, he will work to inform more people of this option. He hopes that it will be put into practice soon.

To Hutton, this appointment is not a grand accomplishment to “call home about.” He says to him, it as an opportunity to continue to work toward applying his knowledge to make a significant and positive impact on society.

Hutton has more than 40 years of experience in particle accelerator science under his belt. Before coming to Jefferson Lab, he worked at the DOE’s Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. He has worked on a multitude of accelerator projects, including LEP, SLC, PEP-II and Jefferson Lab’s own CEBAF, the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility. CEBAF is a DOE Office of Science user facility. Hutton led the commissioning of CEBAF as it ramped up in the mid-1990s and later became the lab’s associate director of accelerators. He stepped down from that position to continue his own research in 2018.

In recent years, Hutton has served on the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board. In this position, he searched for a partner to realize accelerator-driven technologies for the destruction of nuclear waste. With this reappointment, Hutton is being recognized for his commitment to nuclear energy and work in this arena.

By Abbey Ballance

Further Reading
The Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium
Latest Gubernatorial Appointments
Previous Leadership- Andrew Hutton
Meet the Director: Andrew Hutton

The Critical Role of Energy in Virginia’s Economy
Virginia is Nuclear: 2020-2024 Strategic Plan

Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit