Nuclear disaster of a different kind
JAPANESE corporate giant Toshiba has announced that its Westinghouse nuclear power unit has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, largely due to massive cost overruns for four reactor projects the company is building in South Carolina and Georgia. The financial loss to Toshiba is estimated to be about 1 trillion yen (about $9 billion) for the fiscal year that ended yesterday (March 31), which would be one of, if not the biggest, annual loss in Japanese corporate history.
Officials at both W estinghouse and parent company Toshiba are optimistic that the collapse is not total; the financial problems are rooted in Westinghouse’s construction division, while its nuclear fuel and plant operations/maintenance segments remain relatively profitable. On the other hand, the bankruptcy filing is glaring evidence that these same people have been very wrong before; every other objective indicator suggests that Westinghouse’s fall may be a fatal blow to…
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