he U.S. Court of Federal Claims last month ordered the U.S. Energy Dept. to compensate Progress Energy, a Raleigh, N.C., utility holding company, $83 million for failing to open a repository for spent nuclear fuel. The court said DOE has not met an obligation under the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which required it to begin collecting and disposing the spent fuel on Jan. 31, 1998. One promised storage site, Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, is years behind schedule. Progress Energy operates five nuclear reactors at powerplants in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. To date, courts have ordered DOE to pay utilities $800 million for fuel storage costs. Officials say its liability could reach $7 billion if Yucca Mountain does not open until 2017, the most optimistic date.