Japan’s embattled Toshiba Corp says its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co has filed for bankruptcy protection. Toshiba said in a statement Wednesday that it filed the chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York. The move had been largely expected. Toshiba is expecting a loss of 500 billion yen ($4.3 billion) for April-December of last year, including a 712.5 billion yen ($6.2 billion) hit from its embattled nuclear business. Toshiba acquired Westinghouse in 2006 with much fanfare, making nuclear power an important part of its business strategy. After the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, costs of the business have ballooned because of growing safety concerns and regulations, and a souring of sentiment toward nuclear power in some countries, such as Germany.
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The board of Westinghouse’s parent company, Toshiba, today approved the filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy for its drowning U.S. company – a defining moment in the decades-long downward spiral of the global nuclear power industry. Toshiba/Westinghouse is responsible for building more nuclear reactors worldwide than any other entity. With the financial meltdown of Westinghouse, Toshiba also recently announced its plans to withdraw from foreign construction projects – a move that has far-reaching implications outside Japan and the US, such as the construction of three reactors in the UK at Moorside. “If we look at how nuclear stacks up against renewables, it’s clearly in freefall. An estimated 147 gigawatts of renewable power was added in 2015, compared to just 11 gigawatts for nuclear power in the same year,” said Ai Kashiwagi, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.
Greenpeace 29th March 2017 read more »
A financial crisis at a major nuclear energy business is threatening to deal a blow to the UK’s atomic energy programme. Toshiba’s US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric is believed to be on the brink of filing in the US for bankruptcy protection from creditors. A UK expert said the collapse would leave a considerable hole in Britain’s new nuclear ambitions as Toshiba is a key player behind plans for a new power station at Moorside in Cumbria. Credit rating agency Moody’s said it welcomed the prospect of bankruptcy because it could limit Toshiba’s liabilities. Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “The world is watching the meltdown of a major corporation and questioning the cost of new nuclear. Declaring bankruptcy in the USA might shield Toshiba from Westinghouse’s debt, but as Toshiba’s share price ricochets and its multibillion-dollar losses escalate, the beleaguered nuclear industry is being shaken to the core again.” Dr Paul Dorfman, a nuclear expert at UCL in London, told the Guardian: “Toshiba has fallen on its sword and this has significant consequences for the UK’s plans for new nuclear. Kepco of South Korea may come and buy into NuGen [the consortium behind the UK’s Moorside plant]. But you can’t necessarily sell off the bad bits of a nuclear corporation and keep the good bits. While Kepco may wish to buy into NuGen they may find it both legally and financially problematic.” He added that any unravelling of Nugen as a result of Westinghouse filing for bankruptcy would “leave a considerable hole in UK nuclear plans”.
Guardian 28th March 2017 read more »