Nuclear Communities Forum 2022


The Nuclear Communities Forum will place the issue of nuclear decommissioning in a national context and bring together communities from across the country for a series of engaging discussions around the various impacts that host communities and regions experience when a local nuclear facility shuts down. 

This event has passed. Learn more about the Nuclear Communities program here.



Absent major changes, the majority of the nuclear power plants in the U.S. may close in the next few decades. This represents a major energy transition and economic shock, akin to any major employer leaving town. During the 40-plus-year operational life of most plants, the towns, cities, and counties surrounding them derive hefty economic benefits—as much as $400 million in gross regional product. There’s millions in direct tax payments, the provision of goods and services to the plant, and hundreds or thousands of well-paying jobs, plus the many industries that are intertwined in the operations of a plan. Aside from the economic shock that can occur as a result of decommission, there can be social and community impacts as well as issues related to safety, maintaining the site itself, and managing nuclear waste.

During the Forum, speakers will share insights from the field on a wide range of socioeconomic impacts of closure; the nuts and bolts of the decommissioning process; prioritizing meaningful, consistent community engagement in planning; and the importance of early planning for a successful economic transition.

Register today and stay connected with the Nuclear Communities TA Team to receive updates on the program, speakers, and more. You can reach us at [email protected] with any questions. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!


Looking Back Before Moving Forward

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM Eastern

What exactly does nuclear decommissioning mean, why does it matter, and who should it matter to? Hon. Marge Kilkelley, former Senior Advisor to Senator Angus King and former Maine State Senator and State Representative, and Dr. John Mullin, author of “The Closing of the Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Plant” and Emeritus Professor at UMass Amherst will share how the field has changed over time and what is needed moving forward. The discussion will frame nuclear power as a national issue of energy transition and economic shock; outline the importance of planning for socioeconomic impacts; and demonstrate how utilities, communities, and key stakeholders have begun tackling this massive issue.

  • Hon. Marge Kilkelly, Owner and Operator, Dragonfly Cove Farm; Former Senior Advisor to Senator Angus King; Former Maine State Senator and State Representative
  • John Mullin, PhD, FAICP, Emeritus Professor of Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jim Hamilton, Executive Director, Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative

The Lay of the Land

11:30 AM – 11:45 AM Eastern

Description coming soon.

Site Reuse and Regional Planning

11:45 AM – 12:15 PM Eastern

Hear perspectives from two nuclear host communities and their experiences with decommissioning—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Julie Sinton Pruniski of REACH Central Coast and City of Zion Mayor Billy McKinney will share their challenges encountered and strategies employed to make progress, specifically around regional planning and site reuse.

Impact Analysis and Mitigation

12:15 PM – 12:40 PM Eastern

The communities of Southern Vermont began preparing for the closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station early, and took a regional approach in doing so. Jennifer Stromsten of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and Chris Campany of the Windham Regional Commission will share the challenges they have faced along the way and share what other communities can do early in the process to plan for, quantify, and mitigate the impacts of closure.

Outreach and Coalition Building

12:40 PM – 1:05 PM Eastern

The closure and decommissioning process is a long term activity and generally not well understood by the broader public. How communities become aware of decommissioning and its impacts is important for a successful transition. Nancy Norton of the Grundy Economic Development Council and John Egelhaaf of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission will share how they have engaged a broad swath of stakeholders and built buy-in.

  • Nancy Norton, President & CEO, Grundy County Economic Development
  • John Egelhaaf, AICP, Executive Director, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC)
  • Cindy Winland, FAICP, Director of Community Revitalization, Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative (NDC)

Discussion Rooms

1:25 PM – 2:15 PM Eastern

Spent Fuel and Environmental Justice

Heather Westra, Consultant to the Prairie Island Indian Community, will lead a conversation about how we got to where we are on spent and stranded fuel, and strategies to address it. Communities can share their experiences and other information about spent fuel and environmental justice issues.

Tales from the Field: Grantees taking action

Hear from two grantees share their story of pursuing funding, and how they hope the projects will benefit their communities.

  • Stephen Cole, Executive Director, The Plymouth Foundation
  • Dave Allen, Vice President, Regulatory Compliance and Gas Operations, Midwest Energy & Communications

Funding: EDA Q&A

Bring questions about EDA Nuclear funding and broader federal funding opportunities to this room. We will be joined by members of EDA’s Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) Team.

  • Speakers coming soon!

Connect with the TA Team

Drop in to get to know the folks behind this event and find opportunities to connect and collaborate.

  • Jean Hamerman, Executive Director, Center for Creative Land Recycling
  • Jordan Howard, Economic Development Specialist, Smart Growth America

What Comes Next?

1:25 PM – 2:15 PM Eastern

We’ll recap the key topics from the day before shifting to a national perspective. Councillor David Moore, Chair of Nuleaf, the UK’s Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum, will then share how the UK is addressing the issues around nuclear decommissioning and waste management, as well as what could be on the horizon for the US as more plants close. Scott Morris, Regional Administrator, Region IV, of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will review NRC’s role, the issues they’re hearing, and their ongoing work with stakeholders.

  • Brett Schwartz, Associate Director, National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation
  • Jim Hamilton, Executive Director, Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative (NDC)



Mayor Billy McKinney

City of Zion, IL

Billy McKinney is the 18th Mayor of the City of Zion. The McKinney family planted roots in Zion in the summer of 1962. Mayor McKinney attended Elmwood School, Central Middle School, and was a 1973 Honor Roll student and graduate of Zion-Benton Township High School.

Since being elected Mayor of Zion in 2019, McKinney was immediately appointed as the Board Member for the Lake County Land Bank, Vice President of the Coalition for Healthy Communities, Commissioner and Executive Board Member of the Lake County Community Housing Development Commission, and the Lake County Council of Mayors. Mayor McKinney’s tireless work through the Community Housing Development Commission has been instrumental in securing grant funds for the City of Zion to demolish two of the biggest and longed standing eyesores in Zion, the Munder Building in the 2700 block of Galilee and the Helia Building across from Central Middle School. In July of 2021, Mayor McKinney was appointed to the prestigious position as the Chair of the Mayors Commission on Water Equity, a bi-National organization that consists of over 135 coastal cities throughout the U.S and Canada. This particular commission is working closely with the President Biden’s administration to receive funding through the recently passed Infrastructure Bill to focus on the challenge of clean and affordable water to citizens, solutions to urban flooding, replacement of lead from water, replacing lead pipelines, and creating job opportunities for minorities in the water workforce. McKinney was instrumental in working with County officials and private entities in securing and ensuring the proper distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for Lake County residents.


Jennifer Stromsten

Director of Programs, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation

In 2013 Jen was part of a UMass team studying socioeconomic impacts of nuclear power plant closures on host communities. This Institute for Nuclear Host Communities conducted research and outreach, raised awareness, and highlighted NCCs as a “thing” worthy of greater understanding, policy and resources. Jen is Director of Programs at the economic development agency (BDCC) serving Southeastern Vermont, where Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant (VY) is located. BDCC and regional partners began their planning to mitigate economic effects of VY closure through their CEDS – the first to include nuclear closure. VY’s closure in 2014 yielded settlement funds for mitigation including energy transition, non-profit stabilization, and business investment to create and retain over 700 jobs and offset VY impacts.


John Egelhaaf, AICP

Executive Director, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC)

John Egelhaaf has served as the Executive Director of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC) since 2003. He oversees regional planning projects across a broad scope including natural resource management, public transportation, health issues in regional planning, metropolitan transportation planning, trail planning, economic development, and heritage route development. John has served on various boards at the state level, including secretariat treasurer of the Michigan Association of Regions from 2006 to 2007, a position on the Michigan Transportation Research Board (MTRB) Executive Committee, the state’s Transportation Asset Management Council, and the governor’s Infrastructure Asset Management Pilot Advisory Board. John is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the American Planning Association, and the Michigan Association of Planning.


Chris Campany

Executive Director, Windham Regional Commission

Chris is Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission in Brattleboro, Vermont, which serves 27 towns in Southeastern Vermont. Its mission is to assist towns in Southeastern Vermont to provide effective local governance and work collaboratively with them to address regional issues. Chris was previously Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Graduate Program Coordinator at Mississippi State University; Deputy Director of Planning and Zoning, and Zoning Officer, for Calvert County, Maryland; Deputy Commissioner of Planning for Orange County, New York; Federal Policy Coordinator for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture; founder and Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance; and a Presidential Management Intern with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC.


Julie Sinton Pruniski

Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, REACH

As Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at REACH (a regional economic action coalition for California’s Central Coast), Julie Sinton Pruniski has steered a multi-stakeholder partnership planning for the future reuse of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, slated to close in 2025, with job creation and community economic benefit at the forefront. She also leads additional initiatives to diversify the region’s economy, drawing on more than 20 years of public- and private-sector project management and consulting experience. Her work has spanned philanthropic organizations, Fortune 500 clients and a women’s fertility preservation start-up. She lives in San Luis Obispo and holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.


John R. Mullin, PhD, FAICP

Emeritus Professor of Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. John R. Mullin is Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Planning in the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Associate Director of the University’s Center for Economic Development. He is the former Dean of the Graduate School. His research and professional interests focus upon industrial revitalization, port development, and downtown planning. A Senior Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Dr. Mullin has written or edited more than 120 book chapters, book reviews, journal articles, technical reports and conference proceedings. He is a retired Brigadier General (AUS) from the United States Army.


Hon. Marge Kilkelly

Owner and Operator, Dragonfly Cove Farm; Former Senior Advisor to Senator Angus King; Former Maine State Senator and State Representative

Marge Kilkelly represented the town of Wiscasset in the Maine legislature and for several years as Third Selectman. Wiscasset was host to Maine Yankee (MY), the states only nuclear power plant. In 1997, MY established a Community Advisory Panel. Then Senator Kilkelly was asked to Chair the CAP; a position
she held until 2012 when her work in the senate prohibited her CAP service. She served in the Maine Legislature for 16 years, 10 in the House and 6 in the Senate. She left to take a position with the Council of State Governments – Eastern Region providing policy support in the agriculture and rural development for legislators and executive branch staff in the 11 northeast states, 6 eastern Canadian provinces, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In 2009 she was promoted to Deputy Director of the regional office.

In 2012 she was hired by former Governor Angus King to be the Policy Director for his US Senate Campaign. After the election she spent 6 years as his Senior Policy Advisor in DC; her portfolio included Agriculture, Health, Opioids, Nuclear Waste and Gun policy. She is active in the Episcopal Church at the local, diocese and national level. Member of the University of New England Board of Trustees, Maine Council of Churches and recently was appointed to the Maine Board of agriculture by Gov. Janet Mills. She and her husband Joe Murray own and operate Dragonfly Cove Farm providing goat, poultry, pork and fiber to local restaurants and consumers. Marge Kilkelly has a Master’s Degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University and has worked in community service/public policy for more than 45 years.


Nancy Norton

President & CEO, Grundy County Economic Development

Nancy Norton recently started her 23 rd year as President & CEO of the Grundy Economic Development Council, a county-wide public-private organization.  The non-profit organization is responsible for fostering a dynamic business environment in Grundy County, Illinois through a focus on business attraction, retention, and expansion. Nancy serves as a resource for site selectors and industry leaders in the region, and she works to promote partnerships between the business, labor, community, and education sectors. Nancy’s expertise in industrial development has been central to projects involving logistics and manufacturing giants like Kellogg, BMW, Costco, Grainger, and Airgas. Experienced in the energy sector, Nancy worked to site CPV Three Rivers, a $1.3 billion power generation facility, spearheaded a nuclear retention effort to #SaveDresden and 800+ jobs and is active in attracting renewable wind and solar energy. Nancy is a board member with the Region 11 Workforce Investment Board and the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of the Illinois Economic Development Council and the ComEd Business Advisory Council. Nancy has a BA from the University of Iowa and an MBA from University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Heather Westra

Consultant, Prairie Island Indian Community

Consultant to the Prairie Island Indian Community, with over 30 years working in Indian Country, focusing primarily on regulatory and legislative matters related to spent nuclear fuel storage, transportation and disposal. In addition, Ms. Westra has trained hundreds of tribal representatives in the areas of emergency management planning, emergency management operations, and hazard mitigation through the Emergency Management Institute. Ms. Westra proudly served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala from 1984 to 1987.


Scott Morris

Regional Administrator, Region IV, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Mr. Morris currently serves as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Region IV office, located in Arlington, TX, with nuclear and radiological safety and security oversight responsibility for the western U.S. and its territories. Mr. Morris previously served as the Deputy Regional Administrator in Region IV. He has also completed several executive assignments at NRC Headquarters in Rockville, MD, including Director of the Division of Inspection and Regional Support in the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR), the Deputy Director for Emergency Preparedness and Incident Response in the Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response (NSIR) response, and the Deputy Director for Reactor Security in NSIR. 

Prior to joining the NRC’s executive ranks, Mr. Morris served as Chief of the Reactor Security Branch in NSIR, Executive Technical Assistant in the Office of the Executive Director for Operations and as a Senior Resident Inspector at both the Salem and Hope Creek in Region I. 

Mr. Morris joined the NRC in 1993 after serving seven years of active duty as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine force. He retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2006 at the rank of Commander. Mr. Morris earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University in 1986 and is a 2007 graduate of the NRC’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program.


Cllr. David Moore

Chair, Nuleaf – Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum

David was born in Seascale in Cumbria and raised his family there. His grandchildren are now the 6th generation to be raised in the village. He has worked in the family business all his life and served as a Parish Councillor and a Copeland Borough Councillor representing Seascale for over 36 years.

 David was a Retained Fire Fighter with Seascale Fire Station for 42 years, retiring in 2013 to allow more time to devote to community/council work.  During the last five years he has served on the Directly Elected Mayor’s Executive with responsibility for Nuclear and Corporate Services.  He has been Deputy Mayor of Copeland for the last three years and is also the Council’s representative on Nuleaf where he is Vice Chair.

 In his role as a Parish Councillor he was elected in 2005 as Chairman of the West Cumbria Site Stakeholder Group and enjoys working with the nuclear industry to ensure that community views are represented.


Jim Hamilton

Executive Director, Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative

Jim has over twenty-years of experience managing the entire life-cycle (siting, design, permitting, construction, closure, decommissioning, remediation and redevelopment) of large-scale manufacturing, energy and infrastructure facilities throughout North, Central and South America. Examples of his direct experience include terrestrial mines, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste storage installations, hazardous waste repositories, former manufacturing complexes and urban/rural brownfield sites. His multi-sector experience allows him to offer strategic insights into the dynamics surrounding nuclear power plant closure, decommissioning and redevelopment with an eye towards strengthening the capacity of local communities throughout the process.

Jim earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of British Columbia and MIT respectively. His volunteer work includes serving as Co-Chairman of MIT’s Energy, Environment and Sustainability Global Collaboration Committee.


Hon. Chris Zimmerman

Vice President for Economic Development, Smart Growth America

Christopher Zimmerman is Smart Growth America’s Vice President for Economic Development, and Director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design. An economist by training, Chris heads the team which provides quantitative analysis for data-driven policy recommendations, such as modeling the fiscal impact of development patterns, or quantifying potential loss of affordable housing from rising real estate values. He leads SGA’s Technical Assistance program for equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD), and oversees the downtown revitalization program which provides training and technical assistance to local officials.

Prior to joining SGA, Chris was intimately involved in planning, development, housing, and transportation policy for an urban municipality widely recognized as one of the leading models for smart growth and TOD in the U.S., through his work as an elected official in Arlington County, Virginia. During his 18 years as a member of the Arlington County Board, Chris served on many regional transportation bodies, including 13 years on the WMATA Board of Directors, and 15 years on the Transportation Planning Board for the National Capital Region.


Cindy Winland, FAICP

Director of Community Revitalization, Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative

Cindy is an urban planner focusing on base load power plant communities transitioning from power generation. She develops strategies to address the financial, employment, social, and environmental impacts of power plant closes. She has over thirty years of experience working with urban and rural municipalities, Tribal Nations, nonprofits, professional organizations, and the academic community. Her current work includes serving as a Senior Fellow with the Just Transition Fund in coal impacted communities.

Her background includes solid waste and brownfield management in the public sector, alternative energy development in the private sector, and assistance to legacy cities with a nonprofit. She owned a consulting firm where she led efforts around brownfield redevelopment, industrial transition, alternative energy planning, and sustainable master planning. Cindy is a Fellow with the American Institute of Certified Planners and earned a Master of Urban Planning and a B.A. in Economics from the U-M Ann Arbor.


Brett Schwartz

Associate Director, NADO Research Foundation

Brett Schwartz serves as the Associate Director for the NADO Research Foundation’s sustainable communities capacity building and training program for rural communities and small towns.  Brett supports this work by organizing trainings, peer exchanges, and workshops and by developing webinars, publications, and other resources covering regional planning, asset-based economic development, entrepreneurship, community engagement, and other areas.  Brett is a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law where he focused on land use issues. He also holds degrees from Georgetown University and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.


Joelle Greenland, AICP

Senior Planning Consultant, Center for Creative Land Recycling

With over 15 years of planning experience, Joelle is an accomplished rural, urban and regional planner with exceptional experience in managing complex brownfields redevelopment projects. She has successfully secured over $2 million in grants, and developed comprehensive Brownfields Programs bringing about meaningful “shifts” to stimulate economic development. Her projects have earned local, regional and national recognition including a Region 8 Phoenix Award. As the former Community Development and Long Range Planning Manager for Adams County, Colorado, she spearheaded its first Brownfields Program, created its 2018 Balanced Housing Plan and oversaw numerous community development programs including the creation of over 400 affordable housing units. Joelle has been a strong advocate and supporter of brownfields programs and their ability to bring lasting changes and socioeconomic benefits to communities. Joelle holds a BS in Biology from The University of Richmond and a MURP from the University of Colorado.


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Check out our most recent informational webinars on topics like the decommissioning process, economic resilience, and success stories from nuclear host communities

Connect with a peer community

Let us know if we can help you get in touch with a peer nuclear host community – no matter what stage of the decommissioning process you or they are in


Nuclear host communities and the CEDS

Observations and best practices to help local organizations incorporate nuclear community issues into the CEDS to better position their regions for recovery and resilience. From NADO Research Foundation.

National nuclear plant map

View an interactive map of all U.S. nuclear power plants including their current operation status, corresponding economic development contacts, and more. From the Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative.

Socioeconomic impacts of NPP closure

Report analyzing the socioeconomic impacts of NPP closures on surrounding host communities, including barriers to planning and mitigation and recommendations for the future. From the Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative.




Learn more about the team





The Nuclear Communities Forum 2022 is part of a partnership between Smart Growth America, NADO Research Foundation, the Center for Creative Land Recycling, and the Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative, supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
This effort utilizes Federal funds under award ED20HDQ3030068 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the project team and do not necessarily reflect the views of EDA or the U.S. Department of Commerce.