September 4, 2018 / 5:13 PM / a year ago

U.S. arbitration court can rule on Vattenfall's German nuclear claim - paper

BERLIN, Sept 4 (Reuters) - A U.S. arbitration court has rejected a petition filed by the German government arguing that the U.S. court had no right to rule on a damages claim by Sweden’s Vattenfall over a decision to pull out of nuclear power, a newspaper reported.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that the decision by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) could open the way for Vattenfall to receive billions of euros in compensation.

It cited a copy of the ICSID decision in a two-paragraph digest of a report due to be published in its Wednesday edition.

Vattenfall said it was not immediately in a position to comment.

The company is seeking 4.7 billion euros ($5.44 billion) in damages over a decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to phase out nuclear power following the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Utilities E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall sued the German government, arguing that the decision to close all nuclear plants by 2022 amounted to expropriation.

Germany’s highest court ruled in 2016 that utility companies were allowed to seek limited damages from the German government over the hastening of nuclear plant shutdowns.

Vattenfall first turned to the ICSID in 2012 with the filing of a complaint against the German state. Germany sought in a letter to the arbitration panel in April to have the case thrown out.

Berlin cited a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) on a similar case, where arbitration from a court outside an EU country in relation to a case between a company and a member state was found to be invalid. ($1 = 0.8639 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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