Toshiba’s US nuclear unit, Westinghouse, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, sparking further doubts over the development of Moorside nuclear power plant.
Westinghouse has struggled with significant losses and suffered major cost overruns at US projects in Georgia and South Carolina. The firm’s liabilities totalled $9.8bn (£7.9bn) as of December, Toshiba said.
The filing for Chapter 11 protection from creditors will allow Westinghouse to restructure its finances.
“The company is seeking to undertake a strategic restructuring as a result of certain financial and construction challenges in its US AP1000 power plant projects,” the firm said in a statement.
“Westinghouse has obtained $800m (£640m) in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from a third-party lender to help fund and protect its core businesses during its reorganisation.”
In the UK, Toshiba is involved with the development of one of Europe’s largest nuclear power plants, at Moorside, Cumbria.
The project will include three AP1000 reactors developed by Westinghouse, producing up to 3.8 GW of capacity – more than 7 per cent of the UK’s energy needs.
Last month Toshiba ruled out playing any part in the construction of the £10bn plant, but will remain involved in the development stage.
The Japanese firm said it would look to offload its 60 per cent stake in Moorside developer NuGen as the project moved towards the construction phase.
Toshiba’s share price has plummeted since it first announced problems at Westinghouse last December.
Westinghouse said today that its operations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa would not be impacted by the filing.
“We are focused on developing a plan of reorgansation to emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger company while continuing to be a global nuclear technology leader,” said Westinghouse interim president and chief executive Jos Emeterio Gutierrez.
Last year it was revealed that the completion date for the Moorside plant had been pushed back by a year to 2025 after NuGen said it was “learning more about the delivery of the project”.
During peak construction, the scheme is expected to employ more than 6,500 construction workers, with up to 21,000 jobs expected to be created throughout the plant’s lifetime.