A recent court ruling in the United States has given a boost to Korea’s efforts to export nuclear reactors to countries such as the Czech Republic. The ruling, issued by the District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed a lawsuit filed by American energy firm Westinghouse Electric against Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).
The lawsuit was filed by Westinghouse to prevent KHNP from transferring technical information on reactor designs to other countries, claiming that it had licenses that prohibited KHNP from using its intellectual property. However, the court ruled that Westinghouse lacked a “private cause of action” to enforce the regulations regarding technology transfer for nuclear reactors.
This ruling is seen as a positive development for Korea’s bid to export nuclear reactors as it removes a potential hurdle for the Korean firms. It also indicates that the court has deterred Westinghouse’s efforts to damage KHNP’s public image through lawsuits.
The lawsuit highlights an ongoing contention between US and Korean nuclear reactor developers regarding the application of US export control regulations. The US company argued that Korea’s advanced nuclear reactor technologies, which had benefited from their technical assistance, should still be subject to these regulations. However, the Korean firms disagreed, stating that their more recent technological developments no longer relied on American technologies.
KHNP has stated that the court ruling does not affect the legal interpretation it is seeking from the Korea Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) on whether Korean-type nuclear reactors still possess Westinghouse’s intellectual property. The board has yet to release its judgment on the matter.
Overall, this court ruling is seen as a significant step forward for Korea’s efforts to export nuclear reactors, potentially opening up opportunities in countries interested in importing these technologies.
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