(CN) – The government owes Energy Northwest more than $56.8 million for breaching a contract to remove spent nuclear fuel from a reactor in Washington, the Court of Federal Claims ruled.
The damage award covers the costs that Energy Northwest incurred storing spent nuclear fuel via dry cask storage after the Department of Energy failed to start disposing nuclear fuel in 1998.
“To date, the DOE has failed to accept [spent nuclear fuel] from Energy Northwest or any other facility,” Judge Edward Damich wrote.
Energy Northwest owns and operates the Columbia Generating Station, a 1,150-megawatt electric boiling water nuclear reactor on the southeast corner of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation outside Richmond, Wash.
“Plaintiff’s mitigation expenses, specifically the decision to implement dry storage … were reasonable under the circumstances in response to the DOE’s breach and to avoid a shut-down of the Columbia plant,” Damich wrote.
The court rejected as “unpersuasive” the government’s claim that Energy Northwest would have incurred the expenses, anyway, without any breach of contract.