Toshiba's U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse files for Chapter 11 protection from creditors, as its Japanese parent seeks to limit losses - already estimated at around $9 billlion - that could threaten its future. Graham Mackay reports.
After years of project delays and overruns in the billion of dollars... Toshiba's doomed US nuclear power firm Westinghouse has finally bitten the bullet. The company filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday... A heavy blow for the Japanese giant and it's plans to lead a worldwide renaissance in atomic energy. Bankruptcy should help limit further losses for Toshiba... But as Tokyo bureau chief Billy Mallard reports, concerns are rippling beyond the corporate realm. SOUNDBITE (English) BILLY MALLARD, REUTERS' TOKYO BUREAU CHIEF, SAYING: "It's testing all kinds of government guarantees - US government guarantees - that have never been tested before, and there is a broad concern within the Trump administration that this could be bad for jobs, they don't like that. This could also make America look like a place that companies may not want to invest." But the worries over Westinghouse run even deeper. One source from inside the White House telling Reuters that the fallout could lead to fears over U.S. national security. SOUNDBITE (English) BILLY MALLARD, REUTERS' TOKYO BUREAU CHIEF, SAYING: "Westinghouse is a major supplier of the nuclear technology for the American navy. So for decades to come, America's you know sort of most important naval hardware is going to need constant very high level involvement of the nuclear operators, nuclear servicing... And it's not a very forgiving business." The collapse also throws the future of two unfinished U.S. nuclear plants into serious doubt. Analysts say Westinghouse is sure to leave a black mark on the industry. And with the rise of cheap natural gas and the growing use of renewables... It could be a long time before any more nuclear projects appear.