A New Mexico court has awarded $54.4 million in an insurance case to United Nuclear Corp., a subsidiary of UNC Resources of Falls Church. The court issued its decision in the case resulting from the collapse of a tailings structure at UNC's Church Rock, N.M., uranium mill in July, 1979.

The court found that the tailings structure, which holds wastes and refuse left over from milling and mining processes, was covered by an insurance policy issued by Allendale Mutual Insurance Co. of Providence, R.I., and that Allendale had denied UNC's claim. The court decided that UNC was entitled to recover costs and loss of profits in the amount of $24,670,724. In addition, the court awarded UNC punitive damages of $25 million for Allendale's wrongful denial of the claim.

The court also ruled that UNC is entitled to interest at 6 percent on the $24,670,724, from March 21, 1980, or approximately $4.7 million, as well as reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of the suit.

UNC Resources is a resource and manufacturing company involved in nuclear components and machine tools, ship construction and repairs, services to the oil and gas industry and the minerals industry. Its wholly owned subsidiary, United Nuclear Corp., is involved in mining and mineral exploration and manufacturing.