On Wednesday, Toshiba, one of Japanese largest companies, announced that it was placing Westinghouse — its US based nuclear power subsidiary — into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It had already said that it would withdraw from the nuclear construction business and that Westinghouse, presumably with all its existing liabilities stripped out, was up for sale. All these moves follow the discovery of large-scale liabilities within Westinghouse’s operations in the US which have forced Toshiba as the parent company to take a write-down of at least ¥700bn (some $6.3bn) and to postpone the publication of its annual results.
The question is what happens next, and the key player in answering that is the Japanese government which must now decide whether it wants the country to remain a significant player in the business of civil nuclear power. Read more