The state of Vermont and the owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant have signed a legal agreement that officials say will assure that the plant is decommissioned as promptly as possible.
Entergy has also agreed to provide money for economic development and restoration of the Windham County plant site.
The deal ends years of litigation between the state and Entergy Vermont Yankee
The deal allows Entergy to keep operating through the end of 2014, when the company plans to shut down the 42-year-old nuclear plant.
It also shortens the period of time Entergy will take to decommission the plant.
Under the agreement Entergy will determine the cost of decommissioning within roughly one year of the plant's closing, as opposed to the approximately four years allowed by the federal government.
Then, once the decommissioning fund is determined to have enough money in it, the company will have 120 days to begin the process of dismantling the plant.
Gov. Peter Shumlin said this means Entergy could begin decommissioning in the 2020s, not decades later under an option known as "SAFSTOR."
"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 SAFSTOR suggests," he said.
Shumlin said Windham County will also get a much-needed financial boost, with Entergy committing to paying $10 million over five years to fund economic development efforts.
The company will also provide $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.
And Entergy has agreed to set aside an additional $25 million for site restoration.
Appearing at the news conference with Shumlin was Entergy Vice President Mike Twomey. He said he was pleased that the years of legal battle over the plant’s future has ended.
"We believe this agreement is a good news story for our stakeholders: Our owners, our employees, our customers and our communities," Twomey said.
As part of the agreement, the state will support Entergy VY's pending request before the Public Service Board to operate for only one additional year, through the end of 2014, and to resolve all other outstanding lawsuits related to the plant.