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Environmental Group Seeks Added Financial Protections In Vermont Yankee Sale

The Conservation Law Foundation says the proposed sale of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant lacks key safeguards that would protect Vermonters.

CLF Senior Attorney Sandra Levine says the Entergy Corporation should be held liable for cleanup of the retired nuclear plant if the buyer, Northstar Group Services, can't finish the job for some reason. Under the proposed deal, Levine says, Entergy would not be held liable for the contaminated site if Northstar runs out of money for the cleanup.

“What's important is that Northstar and Entergy be held to the same standard that would be expected of any owner who is responsible for cleaning up a contaminated site,” Levine said in an interview Thursday.

In filings with Vermont's Public Utilities Commission Wednesday, CLF-hired analyst Michael Hill detailed the group's concerns with the financial side of the deal.

When the companies announced the sale at the end of last year, they said Northstar will be able to clean up the Vermont Yankee site by 2030, decades sooner than Entergy has said it could finish the job.

Levine says it is important for both companies to have measures in place to ensure Vermont taxpayers don’t end up shouldering the cost of decommissioning the plant and decontaminating the site. Vermont Yankee stopped producing electricity in December 2014.

The Vermont Public Utilities Commission must approve the sale before Northstar can take over Vermont Yankee.

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