Fresh doubt over Moorside power project as Toshiba’s nuclear unit Westinghouse files for bankruptcy
By Paul Homewood
From the Telegraph:
Toshiba’s nuclear unit Westinghouse has filed for bankruptcy protection, throwing fresh doubt on the UK’s plans to build Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
The move, which had been expected, follows a series of heavy losses that have plagued the Japanese parent company.
Toshiba is expecting a loss of £3.5m for April-December of last year, including a £5bn hit from its embattled nuclear business.
The UK’s plans to build a giant 3.8GW nuclear power plant in Moorside in Cumbria have been at risk due to Toshiba’s struggles.
Toshiba is a 60pc shareholder in the NuGeneration consortium, which plans to develop the Moorside project alongside France’s Engie, formerly known as GDF Suez.
Toshiba has been struggling because of the difficulties in the nuclear arm Credit: EPA/CHRISTOPHER JUE
The new plant is slated to use the AP1000 nuclear reactor, which is made by Westinghouse.
Toshiba acquired Westinghouse in 2006 with much fanfare, making nuclear power an important part of its strategy.
But after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in March 2011, costs in the business ballooned due to growing safety concerns and regulations, and a souring of sentiment toward nuclear power in some countries, such as Germany.
The company reiterated its view that at the root of the problem was the acquisition of US nuclear construction company CB&I Stone and Webster in 2015.
An artist’s impression of how the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria may look Credit: PRESS ASSOCIATION
Toshiba, which has delayed the reporting of its financial results, said it would monitor Westinghouse’s rehabilitation proceedings and disclose information as quickly as possible.
Its chairman has resigned to take responsibility for the company’s troubles.
The Japanese company’s reputation has also been tarnished in recent years by a scandal over the doctoring of accounts to meet unrealistic profit targets.
Toshiba has said it will no longer take on new reactor construction projects and will focus on maintaining the reactors it already has. But it is also involved in the decommissioning of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns after the March 2011 tsunami.