Vt., Entergy Nuclear make plan to decommission plant

Vermont and Entergy Nuclear said Monday they had reached a deal that will provide a path to decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and resolve pending federal lawsuits over the operation of the Vernon facility, officials said.

In exchange, the state of Vermont will support efforts by plant owner Entergy Nuclear to get the required state permit to operate the 600 megawatt reactor through the end of 2014.

Under the agreement with the state, Entergy Nuclear will determine within a year the process that will be needed and the estimated cost of dismantling the plant, which will begin 120 days after officials determine there is enough money in its decommissioning fund to pay for it.

“We can’t look into a crystal ball; anything can change, but if you take the assumptions that we all know it should allow us to decommission the plant in the 2020-period, much shorter than the 60 years that SAFESTOR suggests,” Shumlin said referring to a program that allows nuclear plants to wait as long 60 years before they are dismantled.

The agreement also ends all federal litigation between the state and Entergy, including cases that many felt could have ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court, and requires Entergy to pay an additional $25 million to help restore the plant site to a “greenfield” once it has been completely dismantled. Entergy will pay $10 million for economic development in Windham County to help counteract the loss of some of the 620 jobs at the plant and $5.2 million to support clean energy projects in the county and elsewhere.

The state of Vermont and Entergy have been at odds for years about the continued operation of the plant, with the state wanting it closed and Entergy asserting its right to decide the plant’s future. But Entergy decided in August that continued operation of the 41-year-old nuclear plant wasn’t economically viable and they decided to close the plant at the end of 2014.