The economic impact of decommissioning the Vermont Yankee has been the center of the heated controversy. Vermont Yankee currently employs approximately 650 Vermont residents, and boasts a payroll on the order of $53 million. In addition, every eighteen months, the plant goes through a refueling process which brings in an estimated 200 more contracted employees. All in all, Vermont Yankee is responsible for 2% of the employment and 5% of the compensation earned in Windham County.  With such numbers, it’s no surprise that Vermont Yankee has a significant impact on both the county and the state economy. However, much of this impact comes from the fact that most of Vermont Yankee’s payroll is used as purchasing power locally, which provides a strong source of income ($7.6 million) to nearby retail businesses which then creates more job opportunities and payroll in the state.  Plus, Vermont Yankee contributes approximately $17 million in municipal and property taxes.  There is no doubt that the nuclear plant largely contributes to the economic well-being of both Windham County and the state of Vermont as a whole. The controversy lies in the discussion of whether the other risks (see The Science) involved are worth this economic contribution, and speculation over whether new, clean energy jobs and those associated with the decommissioning of the plant, could replace the potential losses to be suffered from not relicensing.
Economic Impact with Relicensing
If Vermont Yankee were to be relicensed, both wages and employment would see a steady, gradual increase, similar to the increase the plant has seen in its past years. The surrounding community would continue to see similar benefits in terms of added revenue for local businesses. The below graph shows the aforementioned increase in employment if the plant was relicensed (and consequently the decrease in jobs if the plant were to be decommissioned):
The Green Scenario, which includes the assumption of timely and aggressive policy action for renewable energy development 
Vermont’s economy is expected to take a huge hit due to the shutdown of the Yankee plant. Not only would there be a drop in state revenue because of a loss of taxes and a loss of jobs, but there would be an increase in electricity rates. This increase would pose a problem for the remaining local contributors to the economy who will be seriously affected. However, the economic impact would not necessarily be devastating to the state. For instance, the decommissioning process of a nuclear plant requires nearly the same amount of manpower as the commissioning, meaning that hundreds of people would still be employed at the facility. Anti-licensing parties have also looked to the 1997 shutdown of Vermont Yankee’s sister plant, Maine Yankee, to draw conclusions on the economic fate of Vermont. Maine Yankee was located in Lincoln County, a county with comparable population and median household income rates to Windham County.  While there was a significant hit to the local community (in particular, the municipal tax base), the shutdown did not deliver a harsh blow to the county’s economy. With this case in mind, perhaps the expected economic impact would not be as disastrous as predicted.
Read about energy security concerns with shutting down the plant.
 Heaps, Richard W. (February 15, 2008). The Economic Impact of the VY Station on Windham County and Vermont. Retrieved from www.rpc.windham.vt.us/energy/petition/Heaps-Ex1.pdf
 Picard, Ken. “Decommissioning Vermont Yankee Doesn’t Have to Spell Economic Doom.” Seven Days. 24 Feb. 2010. Web. <http://www.7dvt.com/2010decommissioning-vermont-yankee-doesnt-have-spell-economic-doom>.