Westinghouse bankruptcy sparks “negative outlook” for U.S. nuclear construction projects, threatens U.S. taxpayers with $8.3 billion default
Toshiba’s decision to declare bankruptcy for its Westinghouse Electric nuclear power manufacturer continues to send shock waves to global economies at home and abroad. Both Moody's and Standard & Poor’s financial services have downgraded Westinghouse Electric’s partner Santee Cooper and a joint construction project for the completion of V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 to a “negative” outlook. Also known as South Carolina Public Service Authority, the power company is a 45% owner along with SCANA for the construction of the two unit Westinghouse AP-1000 power reactor project which is sinking deeper into cost overruns and farther behind scheduled completion. Additionally, given that the bankruptcy is legally termed as an “event of default,” the U.S. taxpayer at increased risk to absorb an $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee from the Department of Energy for the dubious completion of two more Westinghouse AP-1000 units construction in Georgia at Vogtle Units 3 and 4.
Bloomberg reports that the Trump Administration is concerned by the global security issues raised by China’s interest in buying out Westinghouse Electric from Toshiba and is considering directly blocking the sale, encourage an American buyer or an alternative non-Chinese “friendly” bidder or where the U.S. government itself invests in a bailout much like President Obama did for the U.S. automotive industry. China is already revealed behind nuclear espionage for Westinghouse Electric trade secrets to manufacture its own reactor designs. The financial collapse of Westinghouse is figured to be part of the scheduled talks between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.