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Rural Wisconsin Community Laments Nuclear Power Plant’s Closure via The New York Times

CARLTON, Wis. — Sprawled over 900 acres, the Kewaunee nuclear power plant in this corner of northeastern Wisconsin is an 18-story blue and white tangle of concrete buildings, metal pipes and — deep inside — racks containing spent radioactive fuel. It is big, ugly and stocked with toxic waste.

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There are 19 nuclear power plants across the country that are currently in the process of being decommissioned, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Many plants, like the one in Carlton, are in rural, sparsely populated areas with few large employers. Such plants can be an economic engine for a town, but when they suddenly shut down, they can leave a community struggling to replace the jobs and tax revenues.[…][…]
Many people in Carlton said that there was an exodus from the town and its surrounding areas, as former plant employees moved elsewhere in search of work. Linda Sinkula, the town clerk, said local officials quickly realized they were facing a difficult financial situation: The town had received about $350,000 annually in revenue from the plant, about 70 percent of its total budget.

Ms. Sinkula, the town clerk, said that officials decided that Dominion’s property was worth far more than $10 million, based on an appraisal that valued the plant and the land it occupies at around $457 million. Dominion officials have a different view: They say the property has no value.

That assertion has angered many neighbors. “They’re saying the plant is worth nothing, and I think that’s bogus,” Mr. Schleis said.

Tasha Schleis, his daughter, also works at the family farm and has turned against the plant. “It wasn’t an eyesore before, but now I say it is,” she said. “Because now it’s not doing anything.”

Dave Hardtke, the chairman of the Town of Carlton, said: “I’m just looking forward to that plant being out of here and gone, adding, “It’s like a bad nightmare come true, just having it there. The town would have been better off all these years without the plant.”

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