Report: Toshiba Plans To Exit Nuclear Plant Construction Business

The Japanese conglomerate will reportedly soon announce plans to abandon new construction of nuclear power plants.

Japanese conglomerate Toshiba will reportedly soon announce plans to abandon new construction of nuclear power plants.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed company executive, reports that the Toshiba absorbed billions in losses in an attempt to complete plants in the U.S. and will withdraw from any future construction projects by the middle of February.

Toshiba chairman Shigenori Shiga and executive Danny Roderick, who headed the Westinghouse Electric unit bought by Toshiba more than a decade ago, are also expected to step down, the Journal indicated.

Toshiba previously hoped that a new reactor design from Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse would enable faster construction of new nuclear plants, but in December the company indicated that it would likely absorb a write-down after the AP1000 did not meet those expectations.

Sources told the Journal that Westinghouse's losses could be as high as $6 billion when the company reports them Feb. 14.

The company also faced additional financial strain after buying out a nuclear construction partner, renegotiating construction contracts and settling lawsuits — in addition to a separate 2015 scandal over improper accounting practices.

Westinghouse is expected to complete the under-construction plants in Georgia and South Carolina and will continue to design reactors, the source said, but the Journal warned that the end of its nuclear plant construction ambitions could spell trouble for the nuclear energy sector.

Consultant Mycle Schneider told the paper that the nuclear power appears "too big, too expensive, and most of all, too slow to compete effectively in what is an increasingly ferocious competition."

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