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ECONOMY > Energy

Toshiba bears moral responsibility to complete nuclear power plant: Southern Company CEO

  • March 30, 2017
  • , NHK , 19:14 p.m.
  • JMH Translation

(From NHK News Web)


Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning responded to an NHK interview on March 30 and called on Toshiba, which plans to withdraw from nuclear operations in the U.S., to fulfill its moral responsibility to complete the construction of nuclear reactors.


The major U.S. utility placed an order with Toshiba’s subsidiary Westinghouse for the construction of two nuclear reactors.


Fanning, who is visiting Japan to discuss future plans with Toshiba, mentioned in the interview: “We want to complete the nuclear reactors that are currently under construction in the U.S. We want Westinghouse to continue the work and Toshiba to fulfill its financial, operational and moral responsibility for the completion of the reactors. Our relationships with the two firms cannot be explained through the contract alone. We want Toshiba to cooperate by addressing what happened inside Westinghouse in a constructive fashion.”


Southern Company provides electricity and gas for 9 million businesses and households across the southern United States through a subsidiary. It obtained approval from the government to operate a nuclear plant in the U.S. for the first time in about 30 years. It concluded the deal with Westinghouse in 2008.  


Fanning noted that he aims to put the Vogtle No. 3 and No.4 reactors, which are currently under construction in the state of Georgia in the southern U.S., into operation in 2019 and 2020 as scheduled. “We have agreed with Westinghouse that the utility will finance the costs needed to maintain employment and move forward with the work over the next 30 days, and Toshiba will be involved in the reassessment of the construction period and costs,” he said. Fanning also expressed the view that Toshiba will also play a role to some degree.


Meanwhile, he pointed out that U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the importance of bilateral economic cooperation when they met for summit talks last month. “I have good relationships with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and the Westinghouse issue is attracting strong attention among cabinet members,” he said.


“There are about 5,000 to 6,000 people working at the construction site for the nuclear power plant, and 30,000 are employed in some form in the surrounding area,” he said. “There is also a national security aspect to the completion of the nuclear power plant. Westinghouse has an important role to play not only from an energy standpoint but also from a national defense standpoint.”

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