Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    US Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Korean Companies Over Nuclear Power Plant Exports

    The District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Westinghouse Electric against Korea Hydro Nuclear Power (KHNP) and Korea Electric Power (KEPCO) over the export of nuclear power plants. Westinghouse Electric had filed the suit to prevent the Korean companies from transferring technical information on reactor designs, alleging that the designs had been licensed by them. However, the court determined that Westinghouse lacked a private cause of action to enforce the relevant regulations and therefore failed to state a claim.

    The Korean defendants argued that the Atomic Energy Act does not allow for “private” enforcement, and that the attorney general has the exclusive authority to enforce relevant provisions. The lawsuit was centered around the question of whether Korea’s export of domestically-developed reactors, with initial assistance from Westinghouse, should be subject to US export control regulations.

    The US export control regulation in question, called Part 810, governs the transfer of nuclear technology for development, production, or use of nuclear reactors, equipment, and materials. The court’s ruling demonstrates that it does not provide a basis for private parties to file lawsuits.

    This ruling further highlights the ongoing debates around nuclear power exports and the role of US export control regulations in such transactions. However, the court’s decision clarifies that private entities cannot independently enforce these regulations and that enforcement lies with government authorities.

    Sources: Yonhap

    – District Court for the District of Columbia: A federal trial court located in Washington, D.C., with jurisdiction over the region
    – Westinghouse Electric: An American energy company that specializes in nuclear power
    – Korea Hydro Nuclear Power (KHNP): A state-run company in South Korea involved in nuclear power generation
    – Korea Electric Power (KEPCO): Another state-run company in South Korea that is responsible for the generation and distribution of electricity
    – Part 810: A US export control regulation that governs the transfer of nuclear technology