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article imagePossible Westinghouse bankruptcy may be security risk for U.S.

By Karen Graham     Mar 28, 2017 in Technology
Pittsburgh - U.S. nuclear developer Westinghouse Electric Company announced on Tuesday it would be seeking bankruptcy protection from creditors, as it continues to struggle to limit losses that have thrown parent company, Toshiba into crisis mode.
The Trump administration has been given another helping of bad news to add to the already overloaded plate of troubles it has to deal with this week - So much so that Washington officials have already been in touch with their Japanese counterparts over the looming bankruptcy of Westinghouse.
Folks might remember that earlier this month, Digital Journal reported on the company's suspension of plans to build a nuclear power plant near Columbus, Georgia. At that time, critics of the Westinghouse decision to shelve the plans was blamed on the Toshiba Corp. financial meltdown and the news that Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co. has stopped building nuclear plants.
And while Reuters is saying an unnamed Trump administration official spoke to them on condition of anonymity, the Japan News is reporting that on Monday, Kirk Lippold, a former U.S. Navy commander, sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, expressing concerns over the potential leakage of Westinghouse Electric Company's nuclear technology abroad as it is considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
And this is the real crux of the possible Westinghouse bankruptcy proceedings - National security. Lippold said in his letter: “At present, there is considerable speculation about the prospect of Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy and being sold to another foreign power, specifically China — a scenario that poses significant risks to the United States."
Westinghouse “cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of nations, like China, whose long-term economic and strategic goals run counter to the national security and strategic interests of both the United States and Japan,” he said.
A former Westinghouse plant in Muncie  Indiana  being converted to locomotive production by Progress...
A former Westinghouse plant in Muncie, Indiana, being converted to locomotive production by Progress Rail. Credit: Indiana Railroads Bull Session.
Indiana Railroads Bull Session
Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse doesn't just build nuclear power plants. The company was also a supplier of reactors for nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carriers, submarines, and other warships.
"It is a concern," the unnamed official said. "It’s not a direct A to B linear thing here – a lot of things have to fall in a bad way – but it’s enough of a concern hypothetically that there are conversations between the U.S. government and the Japanese government."
We would hope there are ongoing conversations. Lippold says that the Japanese government needs to encourage financial institutions to provide Toshiba with adequate capital to support a reorganization effort “without the need for Westinghouse to declare bankruptcy.”
More about Westinghouse, Toshiba Corp, Bankruptcy, nuclear technology, China