Thu, Mar 10, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Taipower must pay US$29m: court

By Tang Chia-ling  /  Staff Reporter

The High Court in Taipei yesterday ordered Taipower Corp to pay US$29 million in damages to US design firm Stone and Webster Asia Inc over a dispute at the No. 4 Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao Township (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

The Commission of National Corporations, an agency that oversees state-run enterprises under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, is also investigating the matter.

The Atomic Energy Council has called on the ministry to involve itself in the investigations, saying that the compensation fee is all “taxpayers’ money.”

The case stems from a decision by Taipower to cancel its contract with Stone and Webster, the designer of the nuclear plant, on grounds that the companies were unable to agree on terms of commission and work periods. Stone and Webster then sought arbitration from the Chinese International Arbitration Tribunal in 2007.

The tribunal ruled in Stone and Webster’s favor, prompting -Taipower to file a civil lawsuit against the company. Taipower’s suit was turned down.

A second retrial in December last year also turned down -Taipower’s appeal and ordered it to pay compensation to Stone and Webster.

Yang Mu-huo (楊木火), leader of the Illegal Land Expropriation for Nuke-4 Self-Help Committee, has been petitioning the Control Yuan to investigate potential oversights at Taipower, saying it went ahead with tests without the documents being reviewed by the consultant company, which resulted in several “incidents” during the tests.

“They lost both the initial trial and the retrial. It’s obvious their incorrect policies are wasting the nation’s money,” Yang said.

Yang also questioned whether the companies Taipower chose to succeed Stone and Webster were qualified enough to assume responsibility for the approximately 10,000 design plans left by Stone and Webster.

The director of the Lungmen construction site, surnamed Yao (姚), responded to Yang’s accusations by saying there were “many aspects to consider,” adding that after laying off Stone and Webster, the construction process is going more quickly.

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