Toshiba Throws In Nuclear Towel: Chapter 11 for Westinghouse

Challenges proved too great—and may be nuclear industry harbinger
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2017 3:02 PM CDT
Toshiba's Nuclear Unit Files for Chapter 11
A sign marks the entrance to Westinghouse's global sites and world headquarters on Wednesday in Cranberry, Pa.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

More fallout from Toshiba's reported "nuclear" loss last month, this time in the form of a bankruptcy filing. In what the AP says was a "largely expected" move, Toshiba noted in a statement Wednesday that its Westinghouse nuclear unit has submitted a Chapter 11 petition to the US Bankruptcy Court of New York. This announcement leaves up in the air what's going to happen to four still-to-be-finished nuclear reactors in South Carolina and Georgia, which were plagued with surpassed budgets and missed deadlines, per the Wall Street Journal. Reuters reports that Toshiba—which ventured into nuclear waters when it purchased Westinghouse for $5.4 billion in 2006—is expecting to take a $9 billion loss for the year ending March 31.

The New York Times details some of the company's challenges in the nuclear industry, including more affordable forms of other alternative energy, such as wind and solar power, as well as safety fears spurred by the 2011 Fukushima disaster. A Westinghouse statement says that while the firm attempts to reorganize under Chapter 11 parameters, it will be kept afloat by special $800 million financing. Reuters notes the bankruptcy will allow Westinghouse to figure out whether it's worth it to keep plugging ahead on the nuclear reactor projects, some of which are only about a third completed. Some say Toshiba's unique situation can be applied more broadly to the nuclear industry in general. "This … illustrates that there is no bright future for nuclear anymore," a consultant tells the Journal, which notes that Westinghouse boldly proclaims "We Are Nuclear Energy" on its site. (More Toshiba stories.)

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