Report: Toshiba retreating from nuke business after losses on Vogtle

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Report: Toshiba retreating from nuke business after losses on Vogtle

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Toshiba Corp. is withdrawing from new nuclear projects due to losses at its subsidiary building Georgia’s Vogtle expansion and a similar project in South Carolina, a Japanese newspaper reported Saturday. One of the Vogtle plant’s new cooling towers is under construction in this 2015 photo. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Toshiba Corp., expected to soon report huge losses on Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear plant expansion and a similar project in South Carolina, is backing away from its nuclear power plant business, according to a Japanese newspaper.

The Japan Times reported Saturday that Tokyo-based Toshiba will continue working on those projects, expected to be completed by 2020.

But it will stop taking new orders for nuclear plants, effectively marking its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business, the newspaper said.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said Toshiba’s chairman, Shigenori Shiga, may resign as soon as Feb. 14, when the company is expected to report financial results that may include a write-down of up to $6 billion related to cost overruns on its nuclear construction business.

Friday, Toshiba said it will review its nuclear business and sell its computer chip-making unit to raise funds to cover the loss. Toshiba’s stock price has plunged and bond rating agencies have cut its debt ratings farther into “junk bond” territory amid worries about the expected losses.

The Vogtle project, to add two new nuclear reactors at its plant near Augusta, is over three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget. Its largest owner and managing partner is Georgia Power.

Toshiba owns Westinghouse Electric Co., which is providing reactor parts to the Vogtle expansion and a similar project in South Carolina owned by utility SCANA Corp.

In 2015, Westinghouse acquired the construction business building those plants, CB&I Stone & Webster, after Georgia Power reached a settlement with those companies shifting much of the costly Vogtle project’s risks onto the construction and supplier firms.

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