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Vermont, Entergy Announce Deal On Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning

MONTPELIER, Vt. (CBS) -- The state of Vermont and Entergy have announced a deal on decommissioning the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, Attorney General Bill Sorrell and Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, announced a settlement agreement Monday between the state and the owner and operator of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station, Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee LLC and Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc., the company said in a prepared statement.

The deal brings more certainty to the plant's operation through next year and its transition -- including commitments related to economic development, timely decommissioning and site restoration, the company reported. The pact also helps set a path for a constructive and transparent working relationship between Entergy and the state as they continue to work on long-term issues related to the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant.

The agreement resolves all ongoing litigation between the state and Entergy, and provides a path to resolve proceedings at the Public Service Board subject to the agency's approval, the company reported.

Under the terms of the agreement, Entergy will provide $10 million in economic development money for Windham County and $5.2 million in clean energy development support for Windham County and elsewhere, as well as a transitional $5 million payment to the state for calendar year 2015, the company reported. Entergy will also set aside a new $25 million fund to ensure the site is restored after decommissioning.

In exchange, the state has agreed to support Entergy's pending request before the Public Service Board for a "certificate of public good" to operate for one additional year, through the end of 2014, and to resolve all other outstanding lawsuits related to the plant, the company reported.

The agreement also sets a course for decommissioning Vermont Yankee as quickly as money in the Nuclear Decommissioning Trust allows, rather than delaying the decommissioning effort for up to 60 years regardless of fund adequacy as allowed under federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission guidelines, the company reported. Entergy also commits in the agreement to prepare a site assessment and cost study by the end of 2014, two years earlier than NRC rules require, according to the company.

"Vermonters know that I worked for many years to meet the promise made to Vermont when it was constructed that the plant be closed on schedule in 2012," Shumlin said in a prepared statement. "Now that Entergy VY has agreed to shut down the plant at the end of next year, I am pleased we have stopped the fighting and are instead focused on ways the State and Entergy VY can work together to ease the transition for Windham County and get the plant dismantled and site restored without unnecessary delay."

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