Westinghouse is exiting the construction business, according to Inside Sources, as it seeks to resolve its Chapter 11 bankruptcy announced earlier this year.
When the Pittsburgh-based company exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it will be “leaner, stronger and more competitive” with a renewed focus on its core business, Westinghouse president and CEO Jose Gutierrez told the World Nuclear Association Symposium.
Out of bankruptcy, Gutierrez said the company would focus on Westinghouse’s “traditional” businesses: nuclear fuel, engineering, component supply and decontamination and decommissioning.
Construction problems with the two nuclear expansion projects in the United States led to Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing. The V.C. Summer project in South Carolina, which was recently abandoned by SCANA and South Carolina Gas & Electric, and the Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia being built by Georgia Power and its partners, were both massively over budget and behind schedule.
Gutierrez told the nuclear symposium that construction issues, not technology problems with its AP1000 reactor were the cause of the problems at the Summer and Vogtle projects. Undertaking the first nuclear power projects to begin construction in the U.S. in 30 years meant there was a lack of construction knowledge, he said. In addition, new regulatory requirements were imposed on the projects after the original agreements were signed in 2008.
After exiting bankruptcy, Westinghouse has "an aggressive plan to grow in many different areas and markets, and new technology areas," Gutierrez told World Nuclear News.
Even as Westinghouse moves forward with a new growth plan, the aftershocks of its bankruptcy still echoes in the U.S. nuclear industry. Aside from the Summer and Voglte facilities, Duke and Dominion shelved or halted altogether plans for new nuclear construction and expansion.