Nuclear energy powerhouse Westinghouse Electric Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 29 March, with its parent company Toshiba writing off more than $6 billion in losses connected to its US businesses. Westinghouse was engaged in negotiations to build six AP1000 nuclear reactors in India as part of the landmark US-India civilian nuclear agreement. The bankruptcy filing raises fresh questions, not just about the fate of the reactors, but also about the future of the nuclear deal.Westinghouse has maintained that the Chapter 11 filing will not have an impact on its operations outside the US, especially in India. The company has indicated that it will continue with its plans to build nuclear reactors in India and not abandon the bids it has in place to do so. The US embassy in New Delhi has echoed this assertion.
While this may be cause for cautious optimism, it is worth recalling that spokespersons for Westinghouse had dismissed bankruptcy as a possibility just a few short weeks ago.The reality is that Westinghouse and its Indian partner for the deal, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), are unlikely to meet the June 2017 deadline they established last year to conclude contractual agreements—a prerequisite to beginning construction on the reactors. This injects fresh uncertainty into an arrangement that was still in its nascent stages.
Story Credit – The Live Mint