Barseback Kraft AB v. United States

Decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


This dispute arose out of the privatization of the U.S. government uranium enrichment activities from the Department of Energy ("DOE") into the United States Enrichment Corp.("USEC") as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 ("EPA"). It was one of a series of lawsuits brought by foreign and domestic nuclear utilities with a total potential liability in excess of $200,000,000. The case turned on statutory and contractual analysis and interpretation. Plaintiffs, foreign nuclear utilities that had contracts with the U.S. government for uranium enrichment services, alleged that they were being overcharged. The contracts permitted the government to charge "any price" set pursuant to the "established DOE policy" in effect at the time of performance as long as the price was below a specified ceiling. In enacting the EPA, Congress directed USEC to price so as to maximize profits, whereas prior DOE policy had been to price for cost-recovery only. Plaintiffs argued that the new profit maximization policy breached the contracts and that USEC was required to price according to the prior DOE policy, even though the price remained well below the contractual ceiling price. Plaintiffs also argued that the new pricing breached international treaty obligations with Spain and Sweden. Finally, Plaintiffs argued that USEC was double-recovering certain decontamination and decommissioning costs mandated by the EPA. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims granted summary judgment in favor of the government on all counts, and the Court of Appeals for the Fedearl Circuit affirmed. Mitchell J. Matorin personally briefed and argued the issues before Federal Circuit.

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Reference Info:Decision | Federal, Federal Circuit | United States

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