Westinghouse, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday, dealing another blow to the future of the nuclear power industry and leaving questions about the fate of four reactors under construction in the United States. The U.S. company will no longer be under Toshiba’s control and will be stripped out of its financial results, the Japanese conglomerate said.
For Toshiba, the filing will help keep the parent company afloat and ringfence it from soaring liabilities from Westinghouse. Toshiba said Westinghouse-related liabilities totaled $9.8 billion as of December, making it one of the industry’s most costly collapses to date.
Westinghouse and Toshiba are working with the owners at VC Summer and Vogtle to come up with plans to continue construction “during an interim period,” the Japanese firm said.
Both Southern and SCANA have stated they intend to continue with plans to build these new nuclear units.
Just hours after the bankruptcy was filed, SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh told investors in a call that the company would continue with the construction of its own two reactors at the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina while considering all options. When Ashar Khan of Visium Asset Management LP asked why it wouldn’t make sense for SCANA to just abandon the project, Marsh called it the “least preferred option.”
While Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning flew to Tokyo for one primary reason: “To look the CEO of Toshiba in the eye” and remind him of the company’s “moral commitment” to getting the Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia completed.
For now, funding has been secured to continue working these two projects for 30 days to assess schedules and work progression.