Westinghouse's Wednesday – Looking past bankruptcy

Westinghouse Electric is "very stable," chief executive Jose Gutierrez told the Nuclear Energy Assembly in his first public speech since the company’s late March Chapter 11 filing, expressing confidence the company will emerge from bankruptcy "quickly, better, stronger and more competitive."   

Linking the bankruptcy to the "nuclear renaissance" that failed to materialize, Gutierrez told the annual Nuclear Energy Institute conference in Scottsdale, Arizona the company remains confident that AP1000 is "good technology."  

Westinghouse is working with the owners of the Vogtle and Summer nuclear plants in Georgia and South Carolina “to find a long-term solution to complete those reactors,” Gutierrez said, adding the future of other new nuclear reactors being built in the U.S. likely depends on the completion of these reactors in the Southeast. 

The bankruptcy filing was a strategic move to "reset the financial footprint" of the company to address construction issues at U.S. projects, while protecting the company's core business, Gutierrez told the Assembly.   

The problems that led to the Chapter 11 filing have nothing to do with the AP1000 technology, he said, noting reactors being built in China are proceeding well. 

Away from the U.S. construction projects, Westinghouse was "very stable," its CEO said. The rest of Westinghouse's business remained strong.  

Since the bankruptcy filing, Westinghouse has been awarded several fuel contracts, which demonstrated customers' confidence in the future of the company. 

Westinghouse remains committed to its reactor design business and will pursue future sales, Gutierrez said, noting future opportunities in China, India, Turkey and the UK.  

Westinghouse is planning for all of its global businesses to focus on engineering and procurement and other core services, and not offer construction services. 

“Construction is not our forte, and we certainly have decided from a risk perspective, never to do that again,” David Howell, president of the Americas region, said in interview.