US to Pay $154M for Not Taking Out Nuclear Trash


     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Department of Energy will pay $154 million in damages for failing to collect and dispose of spent nuclear fuel from Dominion Resources’ plants, after the Court of Federal Claims shaved off $19 million in claims.




     The government contracted with Dominion Resources in 1983 to remove spent fuel from plants operated by Dominion Nuclear Connecticut Inc. and Virginia Electric and Power Company, energy subsidiaries of Dominion Resources, with a scheduled first pickup in January 1998.
     When the government didn’t show, the plants were forced to ramp up onsite storage for the fuel, building racks for cooling pools and dry storage metal casks. By May 2008, there was still no federal repository.
     Dominion Nuclear and Virginia Electric sued the government for breach of contract, seeking damages of $52 million and $122 million, respectively.
     Judge Bruggink whittled some of the claims, including the $6 million cost of upgrading two cranes. Also, Bruggink found no evidence that the government’s breach of contract forced the companies to take out construction loans, or that the construction projects were directly linked to fuel-storage demands. The court further reduced claims for internal labor costs that were not supported in the companies’ accounting documents.
     The judge ordered the government to pay for things like heat-load analysis, the construction of a work platform and other storage accommodations, overhead costs, and the cost of inspecting spent fuel rods. Dominion can also claim costs associated with its 2001 acquisition of the Millstone facility.

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