US court rules in favor of KEPCO, KHNP over nuclear reactor exports

Bomi Yoon

A nuclear reactor in Baraka in the United Arab Emirates is seen in this file photo provided by Korea Electric Power Corp. Yonhap

A U.S. district court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit that an American energy firm filed to stop two Korean state-run companies from exporting nuclear power plants, determining it is not qualified to take the legal move.

The District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the complaint that Westinghouse Electric filed against Korea Hydro Nuclear Power (KHNP) and Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) last October.

The U.S. firm filed the suit to prevent the Korean companies from transferring technical information on reactor designs, which it claims have been licensed by it, to Poland and other countries under a U.S. export control regulation, called Part 810.

“The court holds that Westinghouse lacks a private cause of action to enforce Part 810 and therefore has failed to state a claim,” the ruling read.

The dismissal came as the defendants have claimed the Atomic Energy Act does not contemplate “private” enforcement and delegates to the attorney general the “exclusive authority” to enforce relevant provisions. Part 810 is designed to implement the act.

Part 810 sets forth regulations governing the transfer of technology for development, production, or use of nuclear reactors, equipment and materials.

The lawsuit came in the midst of a debate over whether Korea’s export of reactors that its companies have domestically mastered with the initial technological assistance from the U.S. firm should be subject to U.S. export control regulations. (Yonhap)

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