I have heard quite a few numbers thrown around regarding the eventual closing of VY. Will Brattleboro really have 630 homes on the market, and lose an equal number of well-paid residents?
I decided to ask Jeff Lewis of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. He, along with Pat Moutlon Powden, Director of Workplace Development, answered questions about what they currently know and don’t know about the impact on Brattleboro.
They said that the data that BDCC and SeVEDS has thus far is somewhat limited.
They know that VY reports a total of 630 employees, and 238 of them live in Vermont. Of that, 76 live in Brattleboro.
BDCC estimates that another 650 jobs are dependent on VY in direct and indirect ways.
BDCC reports that approximately 76 live in Vernon, 15 in E. Dummerston, 12 in Putney, 11 in Newfane, 8 in Bellows Falls, 6 in Dummerston, 5 in Townshend and others scattered around the state (Springfield, Chester, South Burlington).
210 employees live in New Hampshire, 167 in Massachusetts, and eight in other states.
The average salary is reported to be $110,000 per year.
BDCC does not yet know how many employees are full time or how many are part time. There is no clear sense either of the number of jobs that can only be done at a nuclear plant and are unique to the nuclear industry (ie, not a guard, secretary, PR person, or housekeeper.)
A breakdown of homeowners vs. renters has not yet been established.
The number of employees approaching retirement age is not yet clear. Younger nuclear-skilled workers are expected to be in demand elsewhere, as VY has been well-rated as a plant.
Questions remain about who might want to leave, who might look for other work in the region, and who might start their own businesses here are on the table, but not yet answered.
BDCC and SeVEDS are having discussions with Entergy and asking these questions in an attempt to better gauge the impact of the plant closing and decommissioning. And the decommissioning path adds another layer to figure out.
As Lewis said “The decommissioning scenario will be consequential. SAFSTOR will have a high count early then a long period of low employment, mostly security. Immediate decommissioning would be different. In each case there will be some jobs that fit the existing workforce, if they want them. But many of the jobs will be fit for and filled by different skills supplied by temporary workers, who will have a very different presence in the community than the full time, permanent force.”