Toshiba Corp. plans to stop building nuclear power plants after incurring billions of dollars in losses trying to complete long-delayed projects in the US, a move that could have widespread ramifications for the future of the nuclear-power industry, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Japanese industrial conglomerate is set to announce plans to exit nuclear construction by the middle of February, according to a Toshiba executive familiar with the matter.
The executive also said Toshiba’s chairman, Shigenori Shiga, and Danny Roderick, a Toshiba executive and the former head of its Pittsburgh-based nuclear power unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., are expected to step down.
Toshiba’s decision deals a fatal blow to its ambitions to become a major player in the nuclear construction business.
The company has bet aggressively on Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design, which it hoped would anchor a new generation of nuclear power plants that were supposed to be easier to build and to deliver on time.
But signs emerged that the AP1000 wasn’t as easy to build as hoped, and yet Toshiba remained confident and took on added financial risk, according to legal filings and interviews with people involved with the construction process, according to the Journal.
Toshiba declined to comment. The company previously said it would disclose the size of Westinghouse’s losses on Feb. 14.
In December, it said it was likely to take a write-down of several billion dollars, and people familiar with the situation say the losses could approach US$6 billion—plunging the company into a new crisis just as it was seeking to move away from an earlier accounting scandal.
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