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Date TBD The Vermont Public Service Board's informational session and public hearing on the proposed sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar Group Services at Vernon Elementary School has been postponed due to the snowstorm.

 

Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Case Studies and Resources

 

 

Case Studies: What other communities are doing

Resources and Further Reading

 

What Other Communities are Doing

Due to the fact that the great bulk of nuclear power plants in the United States are still open – their operating licenses commonly run 40 years and license extensions give them decades more life – there are not a large number of useful case studies that can shed light on what happens to local economies when a nuclear power plant closes and how local people and institutions can respond.

 

An important limiting factor in any comparison regarding the VY closing is the distribution of the plant’s impact in three contiguous counties in three contiguous states. In all other known cases, the economic impact of a shut-down – and the governmental response, if any, is limited to a single state.

 

Kewaunee Power Station, Wisconsin

In 2013, the owner of the 556-megawatt Kewaunee Power Station in the town of Carlton near Lake Michigan closed the plant. There are similarities to Vermont Yankee in that the plant employed a little more than 600 people, and the host community was about the size of Vernon, VT, where Vermont Yankee is located. A snapshot of the economic reality can be found here.

The greater community got together to develop a strategy and produced a very impressive action plan that's worth reading.

 

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Crystal River, Florida

In early 2013, after several years of attempted repairs, the 860-megawatt Crystal River power plant was formally closed. About 600 workers had been attached to the plant, and the economic impact of the closing was comparable to that of the Vermont Yankee closure. The shut-down led to studies and the development of a five-year community action plan that spells out a variety of steps to help recover from economic shock.

 

The two coal-fired power plants of the Crystal River North steam complex, in Crystal River, Florida

 

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Yankee Rowe

One of the best introductory studies -- about the closing of the Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Plant in north-central Massachusetts – shows how wide the impact can be. But the closing occurred in 1992 and the report, titled "The Closing of the Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Plant: The impact on a New England Community," was written nearly two decades ago.

A more recent assessment, by the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northamption, MA in January 2015 also bears reading. You can find the article here

 

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Maine Yankee

This power station, in the town of Wiscasset on the coast of Maine, closed in 1996. It was about the size of the VY operation, and a 2002 report on the economic consequences of the study makes good mention of Vermont Yankee. The report contains commentary about nuclear power as a public policy preference, but there’s enough in it to show that the impact of a plant shut down can be wide and deep.

 

In 2013 the Boston Globe published a sobering report about the lasting economic impact of the plant closing, which can be found here.

 

The 2014 summer edition of the Boston Federal Reserve's Community Banking publication presents an important comment regarding economic diversification in the wake of the Maine Yankee closing. The article, titled "Nuclear Plant Closes, Life Goes On," gives a more positive outlook on the economic outlook of Wiscasset almost 20 years after the closure of Maine Yankee.

 

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Seabrook

A 2013 report titled "Economic Impact of NextEra Energy's Seabrook Station" gives a sense of the ripple effect of the operation of the power plant on New Hampshire's seacoast. This is not a report about closing; rather, the report was by the Nuclear Energy Institute, and could be interpreted as a lobbying move in support of extending the plant’s operating license. A Seacoast Online news report about the analysis gives it a fair reading. You can find the article here.

 

But as a useful case study in power plant economic impact, the report has its limits due to the fact that the overall economic structure of the Seacoast is larger and more diverse than the area around the Vermont Yankee plant.

 

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Further Reading

• In April of 2012 Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC asked Northern Economic Consulting, Inc. to estimate the economic impact of the operation and eventual decommissioning of its power station in Vermont under three scenarios. The resulting report, titled “The Economic Impact of the VY Station on Windham County and Vermont” is a useful resource.

 

• The Windham Regional Commission (WRC) began looking at the possibility of a Vermont Yankee closure early on: January 2015 WRC Newsletter.

 

• In a farsighted move, in January 2015 the state government of Illinois issued a report that examines the possible economic consequences of nuclear power plant closings in the future. You can find the report here

 

• In 2008 the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna released a report titled “Managing the socio-economic impact of the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.” 

 

 

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