The 2015 announcement to close Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan, NY caused a shockwave of concerns for the local community. As a rural community, Buchanan, NY relies on major employers to provide long-lasting careers with steady incomes and steady tax revenue for the community (Mitchell, 2019). A major employer is a business that produces more goods and services than can be utilized by the local economy, and therefore it exports a significant portion of its goods and employs five hundred workers or more (Montrose EDC, 2019). The type of industries that are major employers includes manufacturing, energy plants, hospitals, schools, automobile plants, etc. As a nuclear power plant, IPEC provides various economic benefits to the local community such as; approximately half of Buchanan’s operating budget ($4 million), 5,300 local jobs from direct and indirect sources, $25 million in annual school taxes, etc. (Moore, 2018; NEI, 2015; Pezzullo, 2020). This research attempted to gain a better understanding of how major employer closures impact the community, and how a community can battle those impacts with a specific focus on the closure of nuclear power plants in rural communities. By understanding how the closure can impact the community, policy recommendations could be formulated to lessen the negative economic impacts. Previous research has shown a nuclear power plant closure can cause short-term economic distress as a community transitions, but long-term economic distress is unlikely (Greco & Yamato, 2019; Haller, 2014: Haller, et al., 2017; Kotval & Mullin, 1997). This study used a multiple case study to gather information on previous nuclear power plant closures in other U.S. rural communities and compared the impacts with the predicted impacts from the closure of IPEC to formulate policy recommendations. It was concluded, rural communities can survive the economic impacts of a nuclear power plant closure through the use of various public programs and policies as well as the collaboration between company and government.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nuclear power plants--Decommissioning--United States--Case studies; Nuclear power plants--Economic aspects; United States--Rural conditions--Case studies; Nuclear power plants--Government policy--United States

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)


Franz Foltz

Advisor/Committee Member

Qing Miao

Advisor/Committee Member

Yunus Sozen


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes