A major nuclear power company filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, putting two multi-billion dollar projects in the U.S. at risk.
Westinghouse Electric Co., the U.S. nuclear unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corporation., filed for bankruptcy protection. The company said in a statement it has obtained financing to maintain its operations and will continue them until its viability can be assessed. Toshiba says Westinghouse has racked up a debt of $9.8 billion.
“We are guardedly optimistic that this storm can be weathered,” David Blee, executive director of the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (NIC), told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Key US officials and utilities were at the ready and are fully engaged at the highest levels to tackle this challenge head-on and maintain momentum at the two US flagship projects at Vogtle and VC Summer.”
Both projects are still on the table, according to the Westinghouse statement. Both reactors may get finished, or the project may be abandoned altogether. Westinghouse will spend the next 30 days reviewing its options. The Vogtle project in eastern Georgia is roughly three years behind schedule and $3 billion over its original budget. The Summer project in South Carolina is two years behind schedule and $4.2 billion over budget
“The impact on these new build projects clearly poses the greatest uncertainty and consequential concern,” Blee said. “We are hopeful that any resolution will not impede completion of these pivotally important new American energy projects.”
This bankruptcy could have serious implications for the U.S. nuclear industry.
Toshiba purchased the American nuclear company Westinghouse in 2006 for about $5.4 billion and added another nuclear engineering firm called Chicago Bridge & Iron’s (CB&I) last December for $229 million. Toshiba will turn an estimated profit of $1.2 billion in 2016.
Toshiba is considering formally listing U.S. nuclear companies that it purchased for billions as a net loss, then investing more into other companies.
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