Taipower to pay US$158 million in nuclear plant deal dispute

Since the government announced the decision to mothball the nearly completed plant in 2014, Taipower has stopped paying bills resulting from a contract under which GE was commissioned to build a nuclear reactor system and offer equipment and services for the Lungmen plant. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — State-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) said on March 5 that based on international arbitration, it must pay American company General Electric Co. (GE) US$158 million in a dispute over payment for a reactor system for use in Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant.

Expressing regret at the ruling, which also stipulates that the payment must be made before June, Taipower said it will decide whether or not to accept the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC’s) ruling or appeal it after discussing the matter with its team of attorneys.

In April 2014, then-Premier Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺) announced that the two GE-built reactors at the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District, New Taipei, would be mothballed amid rising public outcry against nuclear power following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan on March 11, 2011. The procedure of mothballing the plant was completed in July 2015 and the plant has been kept mothballed ever since.

Since the government announced the decision to mothball the nearly completed plant in 2014, Taipower has stopped paying bills resulting from a contract under which GE was commissioned to build a nuclear reactor system and offer equipment and services for the Lungmen plant, accusing GE of failure to meet the contract requirements.

After failing to settle the dispute through negotiations, GE asked for arbitration at the ICC secretariat’s Hong Kong office in September 2015.

After three years of investigation, the ICC’s arbitration tribunal responsible for the case determined in December 2018 that Taipower must pay under the terms of the contract.

The ruling was then approved by the ICC International Court of Arbitration in late January before its publication.

By Tsai Peng-min and Elizabeth Hsu