Exclusive: With India visit, Westinghouse CEO keeps nuclear project alive

Wed Mar 8, 2017 8:39am EST
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By Douglas Busvine

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A deal to build six Westinghouse nuclear reactors in India is still alive, but to be viable must be ring-fenced from a financial crisis at the U.S. reactor maker and its Japanese parent Toshiba Corp, people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Westinghouse would only provide reactors for the six AP1000 units to be built in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. It would not carry out civil engineering work to build the entire project - an approach that led to cost overruns at its projects in the United States.

Toshiba last month booked a $6.3 billion charge arising from those overruns, forcing it to put its core flash-memory chip business up for sale and pull out of building nuclear power plants abroad.

Despite the financial crisis, Westinghouse CEO Jose Gutierrez flew in to India last week for talks with state-run National Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the Department of Atomic Energy that reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said two people who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We still have daily meetings and things are going to plan," said one, echoing comments to Reuters on Feb. 17 by India's atomic energy secretary Sekhar Basu.

Westinghouse and NPCIL did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment.


FILE PHOTO - Visitors look at a nuclear power plant station model by American company Westinghouse at the World Nuclear Exhibition 2014, the trade fair event for the global nuclear energy sector, in Le Bourget, near Paris October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo