Toshiba's nuclear flagship goes bust after $10 billion losses

First and foremost, is Toshiba's now former, and quite angry customer, Tom Fanning, CEO of Southern Co., the Atlanta power company and primary owner of two of the reactors being built in Georgia, who on Wednesday characterized the completion of the reactors as an worldwide political issue, calling it a test of Prime Minister Shinzo Abes commitments with President Donald Trump at a summit in February to help create American jobs. They're also investigating to find out how it will impact their customers. Georgia Power offers a different figure, about 60 percent complete. These projects are over-budget and behind schedule. Areva, the French nuclear power operator, is also unsteady: Its major shareholder, the French government, has just agreed to bail it out through a 5 billion euro ($5.3 billion) capital injection.

Toshiba Corp. shareholders, some of them in tears, denounced management at a shareholders' meeting Thursday outside Tokyo and asked why Toshiba had plowed billions of dollars into a USA nuclear business that is now in bankruptcy-court proceedings.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) approval is needed before the design can be used at NuGeneration Ltd.'s (NuGen) Moorside new nuclear project in north west England, which consists of three AP1000 units.

Georgia Power has two partners in the reactors projects, but is paying for almost 50 percent of the cost. India needs to be careful when negotiating with Westinghouse, she said.

Stan Wise, who heads Georgia's Public Service Commission that regulates Southern Co's utility in the state, said the bankruptcy might mean the Vogtle project in Georgia will be abandoned. "I hope there is a way for this process and contract to continue".

"The PSC is the protection mechanism for our ratepayers", Echols said. "That is the only way that the billions already spent will make sense for consumers", he said. "What we heard today was potentially what could happen. But again, these outcomes are not the most appropriate and the one that is- is that these projects are completed", he said. We say ironically, because it is cost overruns and delays that eventually led to the company's bankruptcy. ONR has issued a design acceptance certificate (DAC) to Westinghouse, the designer, and the environment agencies have issued a statement of design acceptability (SoDA). The Westinghouse bankruptcy "is a powerful signal of the end of the fantasy of a nuclear revival", writes Daniel Hirsch, director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in an email to The Christian Science Monitor.

"While we are working with Westinghouse to maintain momentum at the Vogtle site, we are also now conducting a full-scale schedule and cost-to-complete assessment to determine what impact Westinghouse's bankruptcy will have on the project", Georgia Power spokesman Jacob Hawkins said in an email. The utilities that own the troubled projects in SC and Georgia said they would assess their viability by April 28."We're facing a stark choice: shut down because (Westinghouse) no longer wants to provide support, or step in and take on direct payment of workers and vendors", Greg Gordon, a lawyer for Southern Co's Georgia utility told the court on Thursday.

  • Carolyn Briggs