Justice Department attorneys are concerned about another shutdown following the recent deal to reopen the government for three weeks, and are asking a court to maintain a stay in proceedings in a nuclear waste contract dispute.

A lapse in appropriations may recur following the expiration of the three-week period of appropriations, they told the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Jan. 29.

Judge Thomas C. Wheeler’s Jan. 16 stay in the dispute with Duke Energy Progress LLC and Duke Energy Florida LLC should last until DOJ receives an appropriation for a longer period of time, such as the remainder of the fiscal year, their filing said.

DOJ attorneys also said a continued stay is necessary because they must address a significant backlog of work from the recent shutdown.

They won’t be able to address all backlogged case-related matters for some time, their filing said.

The case involves Duke’s effort to recover costs from the Department of Energy’s alleged breach of a contract to accept and remove nuclear waste from the Crystal River plant in Florida.

The case is Duke Energy Progress LLC v. United States, Fed. Cl., No. 18-891C, notice 1/29/19.