Awards Snapshots

EDA Nuclear Closure Communities (NCC) Funding

*This page will be updated with new information as more grant awards are announced.

In May 2020, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced funding for its Nuclear Closure Communities (NCC) program.  This effort has allocated $13.5 million in FY2020 and $16.5 million in FY2021 through EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program.  The goal of this funding is to support communities and regions that are home to nuclear power plants as they build diverse, resilient economies and also prepare or respond to the economic and social impacts of plant closure.  

These competitive resources are available to build capacity and support communities and regions in a variety of ways, no matter if the plant is currently in operation, has announced closure, or is already shuttered.  According to the NCC Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), “EDA assists regions that have been impacted, or can reasonably demonstrate that they will be impacted, by [nuclear power plant] closure(s).”  

If your region is home to a nuclear power plant, you are eligible to receive free technical assistance through the Technical Assistance for Nuclear Communities Program funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and staffed by Smart Growth America, the Nuclear Decommissioning Collaborative, the NADO Research Foundation, and the Center for Creative Land Recycling.

Below are brief snapshots of the awards that EDA has announced to date as part of the NCC program. 

These grants support a mix of projects including funding for writing recovery plans and feasibility studies, physical infrastructure improvements projects, nuclear research and development, and much more. 

Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology Park (SMART Park)

Midwest Energy & Communications, MI

  • Cost Share: $6,000,000 (federal) / $5,968,863 (match)
  • Grant Announced: September 2021
  • EDA Regional Office: Chicago

Today, property sitting adjacent to Midwest Energy & Communications’ headquarters in Cassopolis, MI is home to rows and rows of corn. That isn’t too uncommon in this part of the state, considered to be the “Seed Corn Capital of the World.” However, with the support of this EDA grant, that land will soon be transformed into the Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology Park, better known as the SMART Park. Though located in a heavily agricultural region, Cassopolis is also 45 miles away from Palisades Power Plant, scheduled to close in 2022. That closure will have a major impact on the region’s workforce, tax base, and economic future.

In an effort to strengthen and diversify the area’s economy, Midwest Energy & Communications, a rural electric cooperative and broadband service provider, applied for EDA Nuclear Closure Communities (NCC) funding to support development of the SMART Park on the land located next to its offices. Once completed, the SMART Park will sit on over 230 acres and is anticipated to be home to a mix of advanced manufacturing companies, including those in the solar, fiber optics, and data-hosting industries. The Park will also include access to rail via the Canadian National Railway that runs along the property. In the summer of 2021, Hydro Aluminum Metals signed a letter of intent to build an aluminum recycling facility at the SMART Park and other businesses are expected to do the same as the project continues to move towards the construction phase.

Specifically, this EDA grant will assist with establishing key infrastructure for the SMART Park, including building a 9-inch concrete road, water and sewer lines to service the facilities, a water tower, and state-of-the-art stormwater management system. This phase of the project is anticipated to be completed by December 2022. The project is expected to create nearly 250 jobs and $14 million in private investment.

Fiber Optic Cable Installation Project

City of El Paso de Robles, Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo County, CA

  • Cost Share: $2,829,958 (federal) / $707,489 (match)
  • Grant Announced: September 2021
  • EDA Regional Office: Seattle

For years, a lack of affordable broadband access has hindered commercial growth and activity in Paso Robles, California. With the announcement of the closing of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant and the impacts of COVID-19, the need to expand broadband in this community has become even more urgent. To address these challenges, the city has been awarded a $2.8 million grant to install fiber optic cable to expand broadband access and increase reliability. This project will support the installation of approximately 11,500 feet of new fiber optic cable in the city’s existing underground conduit and the installation of 52,500 feet of additional fiber optic cable in a new underground conduit to support the needs of the local business community and the many households with home businesses or individuals working from home. This new, approximately 12 miles of broadband cable will benefit small businesses in Paso Robles and lead to a stronger, more resilient local economy for all.

Once completed, the project will create employment opportunities in sustainable industries for the region’s workforce and advance economic resiliency in an area affected by the closure of the nuclear power plant. The project will support business attraction and retention in areas such as specialized manufacturing to support the local agriculture and viticulture industries, ag-tech development, and tech companies or telecommuters relocating from larger cities and seeking high-speed internet access from home. The project will also facilitate distance learning, workforce development training, and tele- medicine connectivity. Paso Robles estimates that this investment will help create 90 jobs and serve approximately 2,500 businesses and over 10,000 jobs. This initial part of a potential multi-phase project is estimated to be complete by December 2022.

Entrepreneurship Center Feasibility Study

Town of Plymouth-Plymouth County, MA

  • Cost Share: $200,000 (federal) / $54,844 (match)
  • Grant Announced: August 2020
  • EDA Regional Office: Philadelphia

Given its prominent place in American history, for many years Plymouth, MA has relied on tourism, hospitality, and retail to drive its economy.  It also benefited from being home to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which delivered high-paying jobs and supported the tax base in this rural part of the state from the early 1970s until it shut down in 2019.  This grant will support a project managed by the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation that will study how the region can diversify its economy and support entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities in Plymouth and neighboring Barnstable County.

The study, to be conducted by the UMASS Donahue Institute, will identify what current economic activities and initiatives are underway in the area, what support services are available, what gaps exist, and what type of entrepreneurs the region could attract.  The study will also provide an implementation strategy to move toward the development of a brick-and-mortar facility to support an entrepreneurial ecosystem by potentially housing a makerspace, tinkerspace, hackerspace, test kitchen, coworking space, and much more.  The project will explore whether a suitable location in a current building is available now or if new construction is needed.  The study is anticipated to take nine months and will serve as a starting point for identifying and pursuing other funds and resources to support this broad economic development effort.  

Overall, this project will seek to leverage Plymouth’s status as a post-nuclear community to better diversify the region’s economy, attract and retain talent, stem youth outmigration, and demonstrate the viability of this rural region to the state’s innovation and entrepreneur-driven economy.

Plymouth Water Infrastructure Improvements

Town of Plymouth-Plymouth County, MA

  • Cost Share: $3,825,000 (federal) / $1,275,000 (match)
  • Grant Announced: May 2021
  • EDA Regional Office: Philadelphia

This grant will fund important water infrastructure improvements in the Plymouth area as part of an effort to attract and retain businesses and spur private investment following the closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.  For a variety of reasons, Plymouth has a limited water supply, including in areas that have major economic development potential.  The planned improvements include water infrastructure connections and upgrades in the village of Manomet, located about seven miles away from Plymouth Center.  The Manomet Pressure Zone, a 90-year-old water system, will receive much needed improvements in the form of upgraded water mains that will improve capacity, flow, and address redundancies.  Overall, this project will better position the community for new private investment, improve the quality of life for local residents, and also provide infrastructure to the former Pilgrim site for future redevelopment and industry.

In preparing the application to EDA, Plymouth had a key partner in the Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC).  OCPC serves as the Economic Development District (EDD), the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) that serves seventeen communities in southeast Massachusetts.  As part of the effort, OCPC provided Plymouth with economic data and other key information to include in the application and as served as a liaison between EDA and town staff.

Advanced Nuclear Technology

E4 Carolinas, Inc, NC

  • Cost Share: $1,389,438 (federal) / $349,611 (match)
  • Grant Announced: May 2021
  • EDA Regional Office: Atlanta

A five-state region covering Northern Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, East Tennessee, and Virginia is home to plants and reactors that provide more than a quarter of the entire United States’ nuclear power generating capacity.  In this area are more than 100 nuclear service and operating companies that have a major impact on their local and regional economies, workforce, and tax base.  However, these states have reached an energy and economic crossroads in recent years with uncertainty around the future of large power plants, the cancellation of new reactors in South Carolina that were in development, and continued delays and budget overruns at another site in Georgia.

This project will support E4 Carolinas, a trade association for Carolina companies and organizations from various energy sectors, as it leads a multi-state partnership of stakeholders to research, plan, and implement strategies for supporting advanced nuclear generation and technology. The South Carolina Council of Governments, a network of the 10 Economic Development Districts (EDDs) serving the state, provided regional planning and assessment support to E4 Carolinas in preparation for the application to EDA.

This three-year project will include data collection and inventory to identify the value of the nuclear power cluster in the five-state region; an assessment of the area’s companies and organizations and how they could serve the national and global nuclear industry; an analysis of opportunities to attract new nuclear-focused businesses and research; and the creation of a plan that will provide potential solutions to support, promote, and reinvent the region’s nuclear technology industry.

Airport Access Improvement Project

Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, PA

  • Cost Share: $3,751,000 (federal) / $937,750 (match)
  • Grant Announced: August 2021
  • EDA Regional Office: Philadelphia

The improvement and expansion of Harrisburg International Airport is part of a region-wide effort to promote job creation, economic growth, and overall diversification in South Central Pennsylvania following the September 2019 closure of Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit 1. The project supported by this grant is part of a larger $64 million effort overseen by the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority that will make improvements to both airside (runways, taxi ways) and landside (support side, parking, processing) infrastructure. Specifically, this EDA funding will expand the cargoway by realigning the roadway from the cargo facility to connect to Airport Drive. Construction is expected to start in July 2022 and be completed around a year later. The Airport Authority is also leveraging funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to support this phase of the improvement project.

The improved roadway system in and around the airport will make a tangible impact on local workforce and economic development. It is expected that this effort will lead to 30% expansion of the airport’s cargo capacity and attract more global air cargo carriers, create over 350 permanent jobs and more than 500 temporary construction jobs, and generate almost $8.5 million in private investment. Most importantly, it will help position South Central Pennsylvania for new opportunities, industries, and build more connections to the national and international economies.

Economic Mitigation Plan

REACH, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, CA

  • Cost Share: $450,000 (federal) / $300,000 (match)
  • Grant Announced: September 2021
  • EDA Regional Office: Seattle

REACH, originally founded as the Hourglass Project, was launched in 2018 after the announcement of the closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant by 2025. The project sought to address concerns surrounding the loss of jobs and tax base and the need to plan for a more diverse economic future. Meetings were held throughout the region with local government and partners in the private sector to prepare a SWOT analysis and discuss the existing economic landscape. The resulting REACH 2030 plan was developed to encompass six initiatives: attracting and expanding high wage industries; growing the commercial space industry at Vandenberg Space Force Base; expanding educational opportunities; championing regional planning; addressing barriers to growth including infrastructure and housing; and influencing the transformation of Diablo Canyon.

This two-year grant from EDA will continue REACH’s work by supporting implementation of an economic mitigation plan to assist key industries already in the region (AgriTech; Clean Tech and Renewable Energy; Aerospace, Defense, and Precision Manufacturing; and Technology) accelerate growth in advance of the impending plant closure. The project will conduct industry impact analyses, help establish industry working groups, facilitate workforce development initiatives, and provide resources for REACH to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) to help the region navigate the economic impacts of the power plant closure and create a more resilient economy across two counties. Once completed, the plan will be a roadmap for economic recovery and diversification and support REACH’s goal of creating 15,000 good jobs paying annual salaries of at least $50,000 in the region by 2030.

Quarry Park Infrastructure Improvement Project

Town of Cortlandt-Westchester County, NY

  • Cost Share: $3.2 million (federal) / $3.2 million (match)
  • Grant Announced: October 2020
  • EDA Regional Office: Philadelphia

In 2016, the Town of Cortlandt, NY purchased a 99-acre parcel of land from Con Edison adjacent to the Indian Point Energy Center.  The vision for this riverfront property, a former limestone quarry that closed in 1956, is to transform it from industrial use into a space for outdoor recreation and small private businesses.  NCC funding is helping to make that redevelopment a reality while supporting the Town of Cortlandt, Village of Buchanan, and surrounding communities respond to and recover from the recent closure of Indian Point in April 2021.  The Quarry Park Infrastructure Improvement Project will install key infrastructure to that site, including roads, waterlines, septic systems, sidewalks, landscaping, and much more.  

Currently, there are two future tenants that are expected to locate on the property once it is ready – Cortlandt Pitch, a two-story 68,000 square foot indoor multi-sport turf field, and Merchant’s Daughter, a New York-sourced hard cider production facility and taproom.  There will also be opportunities for additional businesses and projects to locate on the remaining acreage as the project moves forward.  

Cortlandt would most likely not have met the eligibility requirements for traditional EAA funding which is based on economic distress requirements for unemployment rate and per capita income.  However, because of the special need criteria that is associated with NCC funding, the presence of Indian Point in the community made Cortlandt eligible for NCC resources.  Through this grant, Cortlandt and its neighboring communities will be able to attract and retain businesses, better diversify the economy, and provide amenities for local residents by developing a key piece of waterfront property.

Palisades Closure Recovery Strategy

Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, MI

  • Cost Share: $969,261 (federal) / $242,316 (match)
  • Grant Announced: June 2021
  • EDA Regional Office: Chicago

Key partners and stakeholders in and around Van Buren County, MI have been working together to anticipate and prepare for the impacts of the closure of Palisades Nuclear Generating Station, now scheduled for 2022.   This grant will lead to the creation of a multi-faceted recovery and implementation strategy that will explore in-depth what the nuclear industry has meant to the region and use that information to chart a path forward.  The strategy will first collect data about the Palisades workforce (commuting patterns, levels of education, income, etc.) and both the direct and indirect impacts of the power plant on the regional economy (taxes, retail, hospitality, transportation, schools, philanthropy, etc.).  Using this information as a foundation, the strategy will explore opportunities to address closure and support workforce development, diversification, and broader economic development initiatives through a cohesive roadmap. 

Community engagement and transparency is a key part of the process, which will include the establishment of a community advisory panel, surveys, a project website, and other communication channels to ensure residents are informed throughout all phases of the project.  An economic recovery implementation specialist will also be hired to support plan implementation and coordinate with partners and stakeholders when the plan is finalized. 

This grant will be overseen by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (the region’s Economic Development District), which is collaborating closely with key partners in Market Van Buren, the University of Michigan Economic Growth Institute, and the Michigan Department of Treasury.  The State of Michigan has been an important partner in this effort, offering cross-departmental support and match dollars for the grant through its Energy Transition Impact Project (ETIP) which provides assistance and resources to Michigan communities that are home to closing energy facilities.