As of 2018, our client base includes closure communities in Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and California. We have been invited speakers, presenters, and/or moderators through the National Association of Development Organizations (2015); the International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy (2015, 2016); the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (2017); and Third Way’s Nuclear Futures series (2018).
Additional interviews with the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy (2018), the International Economic Development Council (2018), and the publications Seven Days (2014) and Governing (2017) have allowed us to bring the socioeconomic impacts of nuclear power plant closure to broader audiences.
Since forming in October 2013, the INHC has undertaken a number of initiatives in pursuit of its mission. The project briefs below demonstrate the breadth of our work, and the links between our Program Areas.
Bringing Stakeholders Together (Education and Networks)
Issue: Lack of clarity and communication among stakeholders preparing for the closure of a nuclear plant.
Action: Planned, organized, and hosted a daylong conference at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont.
Result: More than fifty attendees (representing community groups, planning and development organizations, local and state governments, research universities, and regulatory and industry agencies) came together in April 2014 to discuss the impacts and the process of Vermont Yankee’s upcoming closure. The INHC provided a constructive and conflict-free forum for participants to recognize areas of mutual concern, describe topics requiring more clarity from regulatory and industry officials, and identify issues of high priority for federal and state assistance.
Developing Federal Recognition (Education and Public Policy)
Issue: Limited awareness of nuclear plant closure’s distinct economic development issues.
Action: Engaged with federal legislators to discuss closure impacts specific to nuclear communities.
Result: The first federal-level recognition of the need for a government agency to address the local socioeconomic impacts of nuclear plant closure. Throughout the first half of 2014, the INHC consulted with members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language specific to job losses from nuclear power plant closure in the FY 2015 and FY 2016 appropriations bills for the Economic Development Administration (EDA).
Producing a Local Socioeconomic Impact Study (Research and Consulting)
Issue: No planning guidance or local-scale assessments available in industry-based impact studies of nuclear plants.
Action: Assessed socioeconomic impacts of a nuclear plant for the host community of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Result: Completed in May 2015, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Study provided the host community, and its regional planning organization, with an unprecedented review of social and economic impacts from the plant’s operation, including detailed information provided by the plant operator. Unlike existing economic impact studies, which calculate economic and jobs totals at national, state, and multiple county levels, the INHC report focused on the community-level impacts of the nuclear plant and its workforce as landowners, taxpayers, and charitable entities. The project’s findings and recommendations have resulted in a strong local-regional commitment to incorporate closure impacts into new and ongoing planning activities.
Building a Collaboration (Networks, Consulting, and Public Policy)
Issue: Impacts of plant closure expected to affect communities spread across planning organizations in three states.
Action: Provided technical assistance to regional development efforts to secure federal funding for job creation.
Result: The EDA invested over $265,000 in support of the Southeastern Vermont Green Building Cluster Study, the Southern Vermont Business Innovation Accelerator, and the Tri-Region Collaboration for Economic Development. Accounting for nearly half of the total investment, the EDA’s award will help the region offset the economic impacts of Vermont Yankee’s closure by targeting region-wide economic growth in new and emerging industries.