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South Carolina, Georgia nuclear projects under the cloud of Westinghouse’s troubles

Westinghouse troubles loom over South Carolina, Georgia nuclear projects, Denver Post, By  March 29, 2017 Westinghouse Electric Co., the U.S. nuclear unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, calling into question the future of a number of billion-dollar nuclear projects under construction, including two in the U.S.

Westinghouse said in a statement that it filed the Chapter 11 petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The move had been largely expected.

The troubles at a company long associated with nuclear power add to the industry’s problems. ….. the four nuclear reactors Westinghouse is helping to build in South Carolina and Georgia are behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget…….

Toshiba acquired Westinghouse in 2006 with much fanfare, making nuclear power an important part of its business strategy. Instead, Westinghouse has saddled the Japanese company with mounting losses. Toshiba said Westinghouse had racked up debt of $9.8 billion. Wednesday, Toshiba said it could post a loss as big as 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 31. It previously said Westinghouse lost 712.5 billion yen ($6.2 billion) from April to December of last year.

In South Carolina, Westinghouse is a partner with state-owned utility Santee Cooper and publicly-traded SCANA Corp. on the construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville. SCANA said in September that the cost of building the reactors had increased nearly $3 billion from the original $11 billion estimate in 2009. The first reactor was supposed to open in 2017, but has been delayed at least two years.

SCANA officials told investors on a conference call Wednesday that all options remain on the table, from finishing both reactors, to finishing one reactor and delaying completion of the other or abandoning the project altogether. The company said it will spend at least the next 30 days reviewing its options.

The Plant Vogtle project in eastern Georgia was more than three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over its original budget as of the end of 2016. Oglethorpe Power, one of the partners in the project, said in a regulatory filing this week that “the revised in-service dates of December 2019 and September 2020” for the two reactors it’s building “do not appear to be achievable.”

Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co. and holder of a 46-percent stake in the Vogtle project, said in a statement that it “will continue to take every action available to us to hold Westinghouse and Toshiba accountable for their financial responsibilities.” Southern Co. and the other partners have a $920 million letter of credit from Westinghouse obtained in 2015……


March 31, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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