Entergy Vermont Yankee has agreed to fund at least two more years of emergency planning around the shuttered nuclear power plant in Vernon.
The company says it has reached an agreement with the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to pay $300,000 per year for the next two years for emergency planning.
VY closed in December 2014, and the next year the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allowed Entergy to reduce its 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone.
With the EPZ now only covering the area within the plant property, Entergy was no longer required to fund emergency planning in the Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire towns near the closed reactor.
But Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Christopher Herrick says the state needs to continue emergency planning and exercises.
He says the state will distribute a portion of the money to nearby towns as workers at the plant move the spent nuclear fuel into dry cask storage.
"We acknowledge that the risk isn't as great as it may have been while they were generating power, but we still have fuel rods in the pool," Herrick says. "And so we said, look, there's still a risk and we want to make sure we are continuing to plan to make sure that Vermonters are protected."Entergy says it also reached an agreement with Massachusetts, and the company previously negotiated a deal with New Hampshire over emergency planning.
The company will seek permission to withdraw money from its Nuclear Decommissioning Fund to pay for the emergency planning.
The Legislature passed a special provision last year that would have allowed the state to bill Entergy for planning, but under terms of the new agreement the state won't seek additional funding from Entergy.
The two sides say they'll negotiate another deal in good faith as the agreement draws to a close.