Fate Of Hundreds Of Westinghouse Workers Up In The Air

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — It was a tough morning on the Westinghouse campus in Cranberry Township on Tuesday.

Almost 5,000 employees arrived for work wondering if they would still have a job at the end of the day. The word was out, bad news was coming and there would most certainly be jobs lost.

Meanwhile, 6,600 miles away, the President of Toshiba, which is Westinghouse’s parent company, Satoshi Tsunakawa entered a packed press conference in Tokyo with the news of billions in losses. Translated into English, his remarks started with an apology.

“As it was explained, I sincerely apologize to our shareholders and all other stakeholders for any concern or inconvenience caused by issues,” he said.

Toshiba says the Westinghouse Nuclear business experienced $6.3 billion in losses, primarily stemming from the purchase of the construction company that is building its plants in South Carolina and Georgia.

Westinghouse felt by purchasing the company, it could get the construction back on track, but the plants are three years behind schedule and billions over budget.

Brenda Waters’ Report:

The Chairman of Toshiba, Shigenori Shiga, is shouldering the responsibility for the losses.

“As for Shiga, he will resign as the chairman and will focus on resolving matters with Westinghouse,” Tsunakawa said.

Tsunakawa says Toshiba is now interested in selling all or part of its controlling interest in Westinghouse.

While the 4,500 Pittsburgh area employees of Westinghouse did not see the feared pink slips today, there was also no relief. A Westinghouse spokesperson says they are continuing to access the operations and will “staff to the needs.”

Those needs will clearly be contracting. Tsunakawa said the company will stop bidding for new power plants, focus instead on servicing existing plans and reactor design, and back away from the goal of 45 new AP1000 reactors worldwide by 2030.

The president saying instead, “As for the eight plants we are currently working on – the four plants in the United States and four in China – we will continue these projects while closely monitoring risks.”

Any other plants in the planning pipeline will only go forward if a partner can be found who is willing to build the plant.

The Westinghouse spokesperson says there is no timetable for any changes that might be coming.

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