In the 1990s, Yankee Atomic commissioned an academic study on the social and economic impacts of America’s first commercial nuclear power plant closure, at the Yankee Rower Nuclear Power Plant in the tiny town of Rowe, Massachusetts. Twenty years later, this study underwent a renaissance as nuclear host communities began to look for information about closure impacts at the local level. The study, conducted by INHC Board Member Dr. John Mullin, continues to be one of the few pieces of academic research that looks at closure from the ‘ground up’, rather than economic analysis of energy sectors or assessment of energy supply.
In 2015, INHC Research Director Jonathan Cooper completed the first comprehensive assessment of an operating nuclear power plant’s socioeconomic impacts. The report, “The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Study,” enabled INHC to change the public dialogue around nuclear power plant closure: the national conversation has shifted to issues relevant to community and economic developers, municipal officials, social service providers, and more. Crucially, this has shifted the conversation in Washington, as well: recent appropriations bills from the House and the Senate have directed federal entities to consider the impacts of nuclear power plant closure at local and regional scales.
The next year, Cooper and the INHC completed a follow-up, “Pilgrim Station Phase II: Community Guidebook for Closure Response,” at the request of the client. This public-facing document neatly summarized previous findings, relevant terminology, and key issues, and recommended responses for a general audience. The intended result, an accessible but concise review of where communities do and do not have leverage, has helped officials avoid common-yet-ineffective responses while efficiently building support at both local and state levels.