Before much of America learned to fear atomic energy, towns like Perry, Ohio, learned to love it. For over thirty years the Perry Nuclear Power Plant has been the linchpin of the small Rust Belt community, bringing flush budgets and well-paying jobs to an area with little other industry. But like many nuclear power plants in the U.S., the Perry plant is aging, costly to maintain, and unable to compete with the nearly two-decade run of record-low natural gas prices. On the isolated shores of Lake Erie, Perry is now caught in a global energy shift. In the coming years, more than two-thirds of the nuclear power plants in America are similarly at risk of shut down, the consequences of which will leave deep voids in the diversity of America’s energy grid and depleted tax bases in the rural towns that house nuclear power plants. Residents and town officials in Perry, however, are not going quietly into the retrenchment of America’s nuclear energy industry.
Residents and town officials in Perry are not going quietly into the retrenchment of America’s nuclear energy industry.