Retired Scientist Reports UFO Sighting Over Nuclear Power Plant In Surry, Virginia May 19, 2008


NUFORC received a very interesting report this morning, on May 19, of a sighting of a strange disc allegedly seen in the vicinity of the Surry Nuclear Power Plant, in SURRY COUNTY, VIRGINIA. We provide below a link to a page, which describes that facility:

Traditionally, we do not post reports immediately upon receipt, given that even dramatic sightings often end up having some terrestrial explanation. However, in this case, the witness is a skilled scientist (retired), and he was able to observe the object for a considerable length of time, up to 20 minutes, he estimates.

The original report, submitted before we spoke to the witness via telephone, can be read here:

Date: 05/19/08T
Time: 12:20
Duration: 12-20 minutes
Sighting City: Surry County
Sighting State: va
Sighting County: USA
Witnesses: 1
Shape: Disk
Number of Craft: 1

Description: Disk Sighted Over Surry Nuclear Power Station, Surry Co., VA

At about 12:20 pm, 19 May 2008, I observed what appeared to be a large, metallic disk hovering very near the Surry Nuclear Power Station. (This is a little more than hour from the time of this writing, so the memory is still fresh and vivid).

I was on my bicycle riding east on the Colonial Parkway (James City County) when I spotted an object over the James River, moving from east to west at a very slow speed. At first I thought it may have been a kite because it was a very windy day (the winds were gusting out of the SW at 20-30mph) and people do come out and fly their kites from the beaches when the winds are good. But when I came to an open spot in the road unobstructed by trees I stopped to get a better look and decided it was much too large to be a kite. It is a about a mile across the channel to the Surry Station and what I saw appeared to be very near the station’s twin domes and it must have been at least as large as they are, and perhaps larger. Besides that the object was moving very slowly against the wind, left to right from my vantage point, and its upper surface caught the sunlight and reflected like a sheet of aluminum foil. Its underside was dark. Then I thought that it might be an advertising balloon or dirigible, but the shape did not seem right. This was definitely a flattened disk. And, because it was so windy it did not seem like a good day to take a blimp up. (And, with security so high these days it does not seem logical that anyone would be permitted to get that close to power station. I have seen military helicopters on training missions over the river, but even they keep a wide berth from the power plant.)

I have eliminated the possibility of helicopters and small aircraft because, as I say, this object was hovering/drifting and appeared to be making a very leisurely circuit of the power plant. I walked down to water’s edge to see if I could get a better look, but without binoculars I couldn’t make out any other useful details. I watched it like this for a good 15-20 minutes. In that time it completely circled the station, moving against the wind. It appeared to correct its angle at times, very slowly rocking up and down.

I then decided to hurry home, grab my binoculars and camera and see if I might get a better look. It took me about ten minutes to bike home from there and another fifteen to get back on the Parkway by car. But, by the time I returned to my original position the object was gone. I drove a few miles down the Parkway hoping that it might have drifted elsewhere, but the sky was empty except for a few white clouds. Now, I wish I had stayed until it left. It would have been interesting to see which way it went.


We had several communications with the witness, following receipt of his written report, and following our first telephone conversation with him. We are impressed with the thoroughness with which he has pursued an explanation for the sighting. We provide below one of his follow-up communiqués to our Center:


Mr. Davenport,

I’ve already done some of the things you suggested. I called the Ft. Eustis Public Affairs Office and was told by a very helpful female officer that there are no Osprey flying out of Ft. Eustis at this time. She knew of none even being stationed at the base, though their fleet of SAR helicopters is slated to be replaced by Osprey at some future date. She then told me that she’d heard from some fellow soldiers that they’d seen what they thought was the Goodyear blimp flying near Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News. Could it have been a blimp, I wondered? I did not see any writing on its sides, but who knows, I might have missed it. I checked the online photos and I think that I would have seen those bold, yellow letters even from that distance. And, if it was a blimp, why would it be hanging out near a nuclear power plant?

I then called the Patrick Henry Mall management office and asked them what they knew of the Goodyear blimp being in their area and was told they’d heard nothing about it, and that their security personnel did not report seeing one. The spokesperson said that if the blimp had been in their area they would have known about it, because of the publicity it would have generated. I then tried to get in contact with Goodyear, but they, unfortunately do not have a contact phone number. I left them an email message.

Perhaps they’ll respond.

The local police have no reports of UFOs over the river and were not interested in taking mine down. (I could hear the borderline ridicule in the dispatcher’s voice).

I called our two local papers, but to date I’m the only one to have reported anything unusual at Surry. They also know nothing of the Goodyear blimp being in our area. The reporter at the Virginia Gazette (our local paper) was very receptive to the story and pumped me for every tidbit. She may run the story. She also lives on the other side of the James River where the Surry Station is located and is going to ask her contacts down there if they’ve heard/seen anything. She’s also been to the station and says that their security is extremely professional and quasi-military to the point of paranoia. But, she also knows that the plant is surrounded by very tall trees and if a silent craft were hovering just at the treeline a hundred or so yards out from the perimeter, it is very unlikely that anyone on the ground would have seen it. I can attest to the fact that I only saw the object through gaps and clearings in our own treeline.

As I said before it was/is very windy, and though it was a bright, sunny day, there were not as many people out on the river beaches as usual. I found it enlightening that even though dozens of cars passed by me as I was observing the object not one of them stopped or even acted as though they saw what I was seeing.

From a distance it may have appeared to be a helicopter. I was the only cyclist crazy enough to brave those high winds this morning (and it was murder, let me tell you).

I went back down to the river late this afternoon and scanned the Surry Station with my binoculars from a half dozen different vantage points. The wind was still blowing hard and the river was churning with whitecaps. Nothing was in the air. Not a single plane or aircraft. No kiters. Even the large birds one usually sees this time of year (it is Spring) were lying low. It was then that I realized that I may indeed have seen something far out of the ordinary.

I tend to agree with you that the response from Surry security may have been canned. They returned my call within 20 minutes and, though I cannot be certain, there was something in the man’s voice that told me that he really didn’t enjoy what he was doing. It seemed to come as relief to him when it appeared that I was buying his explanation. I did not argue, thanked him, and hung up.

One final, unanswerable question: if it was the Goodyear blimp, where did it go? I was back at the river by 1:15 with my binoculars and the sky was empty as far as I could see. Surely it could have not gone that far in such a high wind. Damn, if only I had waited, I might have seen the thing fly off.


We post the report, principally because of the high-quality of the witness, and also because of the seemingly dramatic nature of the event. Also, if anyone in the area of the Surry Nuclear Facility witnessed this event, we would be most grateful if he or she would submit a short, written report of the sighting, using our Online Report Form, found here: ((LINK TO REPORT FORM)). If anyone knows for certain whether a blimp was airborne in that area at about noon on May 19, we would welcome a report to that effect, supported by whatever evidence the witness may be able to provide.

One comment

  • I am a life long resident of Surry County, and for about 4 years I have used the Jamestown/Scotland Ferry about 4-5 times a week. From the ferry you have a clear view of the Surry Nuclear Power Station. Several nights when I was returning home from work I noticed strange lights that seemed to be “hovering” over the domes of the plant. They were too low to be from a commericial aircraft. (the lights were very close to the reactor domes) I assumed that because of the increased security since 9-11 they must be some kind of military aircraft that were monitoring the plant (since they definitely would not let any other aircraft that close.) I had not really heard any reports of UFOs near the power plant, I would think something like that would be talked about all over a small town like Surry. I tried to get a picture once, but all I had was my cell phone camera, and it doesn’t really take great pictures. I’m not sure what is going on, but anyone who rides the Ferry or uses the Colonial Parkway should keep a camera handy so if they see anything suspicious they can document it. I know I will be keeping my camera with me from now on.


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