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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Latest gloomy dramas for the global nuclear industry

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Nuclear Power Is In Crisis As Cost Overruns Cripple Industry Giants, New Matilda.,  By  on February 26, 2017 Nuclear ‘dark ages’

“…….The latest dramas occur against a backdrop of deep industry malaise, with the receding hope of even the slightest growth resting squarely on the shoulders of China.

A February 15 piece in the Financial Times noted: “Hopes of a nuclear renaissance have largely disappeared. For many suppliers, not least Toshiba, simply avoiding a nuclear dark ages would be achievement enough.”

Toshiba and Westinghouse are in deep trouble because of massive cost overruns building four AP1000 reactors in the US ‒ the combined overruns are about $14 billion and counting. The saga is detailed in Bloomberg pieces titled ‘Toshiba’s Nuclear Reactor Mess Winds Back to a Louisiana Swamp‘ and ‘Toshiba’s Record Fall Highlights U.S. Nuclear Cost Nightmare‘.

Toshiba said on February 14 that it expects to book an $8.2 billion write down on Westinghouse, on top of a $3 billion write down in April 2016. These losses exceed the $7.1 billion Toshiba paid when it bought a majority stake in Westinghouse in 2006.

Almost half of the reactors in the US have been operating for 40 years or more and are nearing retirement. Yet the four AP1000 reactors are the only ones under construction, so nuclear power is certain to continue its downward slide in the US.

“There’s billions and billions of dollars at stake here,” said Gregory Jaczko, former head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “This could take down Toshiba and it certainly means the end of new nuclear construction in the US.”

Likewise, pro-nuclear commentator Dan Yurman notes that the Toshiba/Westinghouse AP1000 fiasco “apparently ends the so-called nuclear renaissance in the US for full size reactors. During 2007-2010 there were more than two dozen applications expected for new reactors, but now only a few licenses that have been completed and they do not have any links to near term plans to build the units”.

Bankruptcy looms for Toshiba, with the banks circling and the risk heightened by the likelihood of further delays and cost overruns with the four partially-built AP1000 reactors in the US, and unresolved litigation over those projects. Toshiba says it would likely sell Westinghouse if that was an option ‒ but there is no prospect of a buyer. The nuclear unit is, as Bloomberg noted, “too much of a mess” to sell. And since that isn’t an option, Toshiba must sell profitable businesses instead to stave off bankruptcy…….   https://newmatilda.com/2017/02/26/nuclear-power-is-in-crisis-as-cost-overruns-cripple-industry-giants/

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February 26, 2017 - Posted by | general

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