Articles Posted in U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

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In 1996, Dominion, a power company, replaced coal burners in two of its plants, temporarily removing the units from service for two to three months. During that time, Dominion incurred interest on debt unrelated to the improvements. On its tax returns, Dominion deducted some of that interest. The IRS disagreed, citing Treasury Regulation 1.263A-11(e)(1)(ii)(B), as requiring Dominion to capitalize half ($3.3 million) of that interest over several years, instead of deducting it in a single tax year. The Claims Court granted summary judgment to the IRS. The Federal Circuit reversed. The associated property rule in Treasury Regulation 1.263A-11(e)(1)(ii)(B), as applied to property temporarily withdrawn from service, is not a reasonable interpretation of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, I.R.C. 263A (Capitalization and Inclusion in Inventory Costs of Certain Expenses). Treasury acted contrary to 5 U.S.C. 706(2) in failing to provide a reasoned explanation when it promulgated that regulation. View "Dominon Res., Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 1983, Congress enacted the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 10101-10270, authorizing the Department of Energy to enter into contracts with nuclear facilities for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW). Congress mandated that, under the Standard Contract, DOE dispose of SNF and HLW beginning not later than January 31, 1998. In 1983, DOE entered into a Standard Contract with Consolidated Edison under which DOE agreed to accept SNF stored at the Indian Point facility. Following DOE’s breach, the Claims Court awarded two categories of damages: wet storage costs for continued operation of its Unit 1 spent fuel pool and regulatory fees paid to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Federal Circuit reversed the awards, affirmed denial of damages for the cost of financing mitigation activities, but reversed denial of damages for indirect overhead costs associated with mitigation. The company had chosen to prioritize removal of Unit 2 SNF and Unit 1 material would not have been removed by the time at issue; the company did not establish that the breach caused an increase in fees to the NRC. View "Consol. Edison Co. of NY, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 1983, Congress enacted the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, authorizing contracts with nuclear plant utilities, generators of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HWL) under which the gVovernment would accept and dispose of nuclear waste in return for the generators paying into a Nuclear Waste Fund, 42 U.S.C. 10131. In 1983, the Department of Energy entered into the standard contract with plaintiff to accept SNF and HLW. In 1987, Congress amended the NWPA to specify that the repository would be in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The government has yet to accept spent fuel. The current estimate is that the government will not begin accepting waste until 2020, if at all. In 2001, plaintiff began constructing dry storage facilities to provide on-site storage for SNF rather than to continue using an outside company (ISFSI project). The Court of Federal Claims awarded $142,394,294 for expenses due to DOE’s breach; 23,657,791 was attributable to indirect overhead costs associated with the ISFSI project. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Breach of the standard contract caused plaintiff to build, staff, and maintain an entirely new facility; the ISFSI facilities had not existed prior to the breach and were necessitated by the breach. View "So. CA Edison Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The U.S. Department of Energy breached its agreement to accept spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power utilities, including plaintiff, a Wisconsin power cooperative, no longer in operation. Plaintiff maintains 38 metric tons of spent uranium on its property. Had DOE not breached the agreement, the material would have been removed in 2006. Plaintiff joined a consortium of 11 utilities to develop a private repository. The district court awarded about $37.6 million: $16.6 million for maintaining the fuel on-site from 1998 to 2006, $12 million for investment in the consortium, and $6.1 million for various overhead costs associated with mitigation. The Federal Circuit vacated in part. The claims court properly determined that plaintiff was entitled to damages for the entire period, 1999-2006; properly awarded overhead; properly offset the consortium costs; but should have limited the award with respect to the consortium to expenses incurred for mitigation. View "Dairyland Power Coop. v. United States" on Justia Law