Westinghouse may also be forced out of nuclear plant construction business
“They were kind of really scared and concerned what the implications of this whole unraveling is going to be,” he said. Chris Gadomski
Sometime today, Japan’s Toshiba, owner of Pennsylvania-based nuclear power icon Westinghouse Electric, will reveal an impairment charge to Westinghouse, Kallanish Energy learns.
More than a month ago, Toshiba told shareholders to expect a multi-billion-dollar writedown charged to Westinghouse – expected to be roughly $6 billion – due to the nuclear company’s purchase of Chicago Bridge & Iron’s (CB&I’s) Stone & Webster nuclear construction company two years ago.
Last month, Toshiba CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa told reporters Toshiba is likely to exit the nuclear construction business outside of Japan, which would make Westinghouse a technology designer and service provider – not a nuclear plant builder.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s head of nuclear research, Chris Gadomski, said he thinks the company might be better off with a narrowed business philosophy, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper reported.
“There’s a big difference between building equipment for nuclear power plants and managing the process,” Gadomski said. “If Westinghouse says, ‘Hey, we’re just going to build components’ — that’s fine. Actually, that simplifies the process completely.”
But the uncertainty over the company’s future is rattling markets and customers. On a recent visit to South Carolina, where Westinghouse is building two AP1000 nuclear reactors for the utility South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. — multi-billion-dollar projects — Gadomski said the anxiety was palpable.
“They were kind of really scared and concerned what the implications of this whole unraveling is going to be,” he said.
The South Carolina project and a similar project in Georgia are currently under construction.
Westinghouse employees are similarly uncertain of what awaits them. The company employs 12,000 worldwide.
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