By BOB AUDETTE

Reformer Staff

BRATTLEBORO -- Once the necessary cash is there, decommissioning will begin.

That was perhaps the most important part of an agreement reached between the owner of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon and the state of Vermont, announced during an afternoon press conference in Montpelier on Monday.

The decommissioning process will begin 120 days after it has been determined there is adequate funding, said Governor Peter Shumlin.

Entergy also agreed to start moving nuclear waste out of the plant’s spent fuel pool immediately following shutdown and place it into dry casks outside of the reactor building, a process that should take about seven years.

In return, the state will recommend that the Vermont Public Service Board issue a certificate of public good allowing the plant to continue to operate through the end of 2014.

In addition, both the state and Entergy have agreed to put aside all of their outstanding legal disputes, which includes Entergy’s attempt to recoup more than $5 million in attorneys’ fees for its successful federal lawsuit against the state.

"It’s good news for Entergy, good news for Vermonters, but not such good news for the lawyers," said Shumlin.

Entergy has also agreed to set aside $2 million for the each of the next five years for the purposes of economic development in Windham County and release $5.2 million it has held in escrow. Half of that money will go to clean energy jobs in Windham County and the rest to state of Vermont.

They also agreed to start a seed fund for site restoration, starting with a $25 million deposit and a $20 million parental agreement.

"This agreement presents a real opportunity for Vermonters to see economic development in Windham County and have the resources to make it happen," said Shumlin.

Bob Audette can be reached at raudette@reformer.com, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.