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Dominion Resources, Inc. v. United States

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20162
Nos. Nos. 2009-5031, -5032, (Fed. Cir., 04/25/2011)

The Federal Circuit upheld a lower court decision awarding an energy company $42.7 million for the government's breach of contract relating to spent nuclear fuel (SNF) storage costs at one of the company's facilities. Included in the company's claim for interim storage costs were the costs incurred by the previous owner prior to the company's acquisition of the nuclear facility at issue in this case. The government does not dispute the company's entitlement to the interim storage costs for the SNF that it incurred after it acquired the facility. The government also does not dispute its responsibility for interim storage costs for the SNF following the breach and up until the company's acquisition of the facility. The government's argument on appeal, rather, is that company is not entitled to sue the government for the costs incurred by the previous owner for storing the SNF. The government argues that the predecessor was not permitted to transfer its claim against the government for interim storage fees to the energy company because such a transfer is barred by the Assignment of Claims Act. But because the Nuclear Waste Policy Act allows such assignments, the Assignment of Claims Act did not prohibit the prior owner's assignment of contract claims to the energy company.