"They've had a history of backing away from agreements and promises, and we want to make sure we protect the residents of Vernon and, by extension, Vermont taxpayers from liability related to decommissioning the plant," said Rep. Margaret Cheney, vice chair of the House committee and a lead sponsor of the bill.
When a nuclear plant shuts down, the federal government requires that the reactor and other radioactive components be removed and radioactivity be reduced to a level deemed safe by the NRC. Some states, including Vermont, set lower radioactivity limits.
Lawmakers say that when Entergy bought Vermont Yankee, the company agreed to do a more thorough job of site restoration when the plant shuts down. They point to a memorandum of understanding signed by the state and Entergy at the time that said "the site will be restored by removal of all structures, and, if appropriate, regrading and reseeding the land."