VT Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. United States, No. 11-5033 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 1983, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 10101-10270, authorized the Department of Energy to contract with nuclear facilities for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste. The Standard Contract provided that rights and duties may be assignable with transfer of SNF title. Plaintiff entered into the Standard Contract in 1983 and sold its operation and SNF to ENVY in 2002, including assignment of the Standard Contract, except one payment obligation. Plaintiff transferred claims related to DOE defaults. As a result of DOE’s breach, ENVY built on-site dry-storage facilities. The Claims Court consolidated ENVY’s suit with plaintiff’s suit. The government admitted breach; the Claims Court awarded ENVY $34,895,467 (undisputed damages) and certain disputed damages. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part. Plaintiff validly assigned pre-existing claims; while partial assignment of rights and duties under the contract was not valid, the government waived objection. The assignment encompassed claims against the government. Legal and lobbying fees to secure Vermont approval for mitigation were foreseeable, but other expenses were not recoverable. ENVY failed to prove costs of disposing of contaminated material discovered due to the breach and its characterization of spent fuel moved to dry storage. ENVY is not entitled to recover cost of capital for funding mitigation, or Resource Code 19 payroll loader overhead costs, but may recover capital suspense loader overhead costs,.