America's nuclear power companies for the first time, face reduced demand and a resulting decline in generating capacity that will affect not only the industry, but also the communities that have become dependent on the "nuclear economy." Across the United States there are 111 nuclear plants; approximately twenty are expected to close by the year 2012 (Pasqualetti 1991a, Allen 1996). While many Americans applaud this trend, the fact remains that the closings will bring extensive economic hardships to the communities and regions where the plants are located. This paper is a case study of the local effect from the closing of Yankee Atomic Electric Company's nuclear power plant in Rowe, Massachusetts. The authors conclude that decisions to close nuclear power plants are highly unlikely to consider the local impacts that may occur. The paper is intended as a start toward understanding how the closing of nuclear power plants affect local and regional economies, and considers the role that the federal and state governments can have in helping communities shift to an non-nuclear economic base.