On Tuesday, Toshiba is expected to announce a massive write-down, perhaps as big as $6.1 billion


Toshiba’s Nuclear Reactor Mess Winds Back to a Louisiana Swamp
by Jason Clenfield and Yuji Nakamura
13 February 2017, 00:03 GMT 13 Updated February 2017, 00:40 GMT
https://nuclear-news.net/

If you want to understand why Toshiba Corp. is about to report a multi-billion dollar write-down on its nuclear reactor business, the story begins and ends with a one-time pipe manufacturer with roots in the swamp country of Louisiana.

The Shaw Group Inc., based in Baton Rouge, looms large in the complex tale of blown deadlines and budgets at four nuclear reactor projects in Georgia and South Carolina overseen by Westinghouse Electric Co., a Toshiba subsidiary.

On Tuesday, Toshiba is expected to announce a massive write-down, perhaps as big as $6.1 billion, to cover cost overruns at Westinghouse, which now owns most of Shaw’s assets. The loss may actually eclipse the $5.4 billion that Toshiba paid for Westinghouse in 2006 and has forced the Japanese industrial conglomerate to put up for sale a significant stake in its prized flash-memory business. Toshiba had to sell off other assets last year following a 2015 accounting scandal.

Toshiba made a big bet on a nuclear renaissance that never materialized, in part because it couldn’t build reactors within the timelines and budgets it had promised. The company had anticipated that Westinghouse’s next-generation AP1000 modular reactor design would be easier and faster to execute — just the opposite of what happened. Now the Japanese company may exit the nuclear reactor construction business altogether and focus exclusively on design and maintenance.

“There’s billions and billions of dollars at stake here,” says Gregory Jaczko, former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). “This could take down Toshiba and it certainly means the end of new nuclear construction in the U.S.”

Toshiba confirmed it will unveil a “huge loss” on Tuesday; a spokeswoman declined further comment. In January, Satoshi Tsunakawa, Toshiba’s president, said the company may sell shareholdings, real estate or other assets if needed to strengthen its balance sheet. “We will keep considering all options as needed and promptly, and take all necessary steps,” he said at a briefing in Tokyo.
New Start

When Toshiba bought Westinghouse a decade ago, the U.S. Congress had just started dangling loan guarantees and other incentives aimed at restarting a dormant nuclear industry. In 2008, Westinghouse signed deals to build four new reactors for utilities Southern Co. and Scana Corp., the first U.S. nuclear plants since the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island to be approved for construction by regulators.

In a 2015 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Southern Chief Executive Officer Thomas Fanning said his utility’s two reactor projects at Plant Vogtle in Georgia were “going to be one of the most successful mega-projects in modern American industrial history.”

To build that mega-project, Westinghouse turned to Shaw, a newcomer to nuclear work. Shaw was founded in 1987 by James Bernhard Jr., who distinguished himself through his deal-making acumen. He got his start paying $50,000 for the assets of a bankrupt pipe fabricator, and grew via one acquisition after another. In 2000, Bernhard swooped in at a bankruptcy auction and, during an 18-hour bidding war, bought Stone & Webster Inc., a once-venerable engineering firm that had already agreed to a deal with a much bigger rival.

Stone & Webster had built the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s campus and many of the country’s nuclear plants from the 1950s to the 1970s, but it was a shell of its old self when Bernhard bought it. Still, the name gave Shaw new credibility in the nuclear field, which it capitalized on to win all of Westinghouse’s contracts. “They weren’t necessarily qualified, but they had the heart and the go-get-them to take it on,’’ says Jeffrey Keller, a retired construction project controller who worked for Shaw at its nuclear sites.

Bernhard declined to comment for this story.

Building nuclear reactors is a tall order, given the regulatory complexity and consortium of contractors required to get the job done. And in fairness to Westinghouse and Shaw, plenty of other companies have missed deadlines. “Nuclear construction on-time and on-budget? It’s essentially never happened,’’ said Andrew J. Wittmann, an analyst who covers the industry for Robert W. Baird & Co.
Modular Design

It’s easy to see why Shaw wanted Toshiba’s business, but harder to understand why Toshiba chose Shaw. More established contractors simply may not have wanted the work, but Bernhard also used his deal-making skills to sweeten the agreement by taking on a chunk of Toshiba’s debts temporarily. “If you want to have a business, you have to get plants up and running, so they went forward even if it wasn’t a perfect match– that was the calculation for Toshiba,” says David Silver, an analyst at Morningstar in Chicago.

Westinghouse executives hoped its AP1000 reactors’ main components, or modules, could be built efficiently at specialized work yards, then shipped to a plant site and snapped together like enormous steel-and-concrete Legos.

On top of that, the U.S. government in 2005 gave nuclear developers a package of tax credits, cost-overrun backstops, and federal loan guarantees. In the next few years, U.S. utilities filed dozens of applications to build new reactors.

After Westinghouse hired Shaw to handle construction in 2008, it wasn’t long before the company’s work came under scrutiny. By early 2012, NRC inspectors found steel in the foundation of one reactor had been installed improperly. A 300-ton reactor vessel nearly fell off a rail car. The wrong welds were used on nuclear modules and had to be redone. Shaw “clearly lacked experience in the nuclear power industry and was not prepared for the rigor and attention to detail required,’’ Bill Jacobs, who had been selected as the state’s monitor for the project, told the Georgia Public Service Commission in late 2012.

The troubles were only starting. At Southern’s two new reactors in Georgia — a massive construction site on the edge of the Savannah River– thousands of workers have logged more than 25 million man-hours, yet the project is years behind schedule.

0riginally planned to open in 2016 and 2017, they’re now slated for 2019 and 2020–and that may be a stretch. To hit the new targets, Westinghouse would have to accelerate the pace of work to “over three times the amount that has ever been achieved to date,” Jacobs, the state’s project monitor, told the utility commission last year.

In November, Westinghouse said 33.4 percent of the construction was complete, but a utility supervisor with Southern who asked not to be identified said he’s skeptical. The hardest part of the project – the reactor’s center – has just started, he said.
Shaw Acquisition

Just as problems began to surface, in July 2012 Shaw agreed to sell itself for $3.3 billion to Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., a much larger engineering firm that wanted in on the envisioned nuclear renaissance. But three years later, with little progress to show for itself, CB&I decided to cut its losses. It sold the bulk of Shaw’s assets to Toshiba for $229 million, accepting the significantly lowered price in exchange for shedding liabilities related to the projects.

But in April 2016, four months after the deal closed, Toshiba concluded it had miscalculated and accused CB&I of inflating Shaw’s assets by $2.2 billion, and asked to renegotiate. CB&I balked and sued Toshiba for breach of contract last July. A preliminary decision in December ruled in favor of Toshiba’s request to renegotiate. CB&I has appealed that ruling. “We remain confident this issue will come to a resolution favorable to CB&I,” said Gentry Brann, a spokeswoman for the company. CB&I has argued that at least some of the reactor problems have been because of Westinghouse and its AP1000 designs.

Westinghouse has turned to another construction contractor, Fluor Corp., to help get its projects back on track, but it’s too early to say how much progress they’re making. Meanwhile, the NRC continues to press Westinghouse about problems with its AP1000 design after a neutron shield block, which contains radiation, failed during testing. Regulators will hold a hearing this week at which Westinghouse is expected to explain its work on the issue; Toshiba meanwhile declined to comment.

Those troubled projects in the American South are now threatening the Japanese icon’s foundations. The value of Toshiba shares has been cut in half over the last six weeks, wiping out more than $7 billion in market value.

And what of the U.S. nuclear renaissance? Westinghouse’s projects for Southern in Georgia and Scana in South Carolina had once been viewed as part of a rebirth of the U.S. atomic power industry. However, stumbles with those projects, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and a flood of cheap natural gas that lowered U.S. power prices made new reactors increasingly expensive and risky. Of the 30-odd applications for new reactors that started in the mid-2000s, only the four Westinghouse units have gone forward.

One figure who seems to have come out of the Westinghouse mess pretty much unscathed is Shaw founder Bernhard. He completed the sale of his firm to CB&I in 2013, pulling in $3.3 billion for himself and other shareholders. Bernhard, whose stake was worth about $50 million at the time of the sale, now runs a private equity firm in Baton Rouge.

“They got out whole and then some,” said Silver, the analyst with Morningstar. “It was a good deal for them but only because they were able to unload the hot potato.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-13/toshiba-s-nuclear-reactor-mess-winds-back-to-a-louisiana-swamp

ARLIN REPORT THOUGHT OF THE DAY: ERA OF DISTRUST

Arlin Report

When you combine years of BS, lying and sprinkle in corruption from career politicians and corporate America, add a touch of liberal elements like Hollywood and piss poor news agencies….mix it all together you have a recipe of an Era of Distrust.   It’s as if it has all come together to destroy the quality of life in America, destruction of a nation.  Shame on us for listening and supporting this crap.

It is difficult to believe anything anymore.  I can not stand to turn on the news networks,  national or local for that matter.   I look at commentators with spite.   They are all after that airtime, I’ll be the one to break this story and it matters not that it is true, false or simply made up.   Until someone can disprove it, it works for me.

A nation has lost its integrity because of it!

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Soros to Be Booted out of His Native Hungary As Trump takes office Hungarians plan to get their hands dirty


http://russia-insider.com/en/soros-be-booted-out-his-native-hungary/ri18464

Hungary sees Trump coming to power in the US as an opportunity. An opportunity to come down hard on each and every organization in the country funded by Hungarian-born American billionaire George Soros.

Szilard Nemeth, the deputy head of the ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban told reporters Hungary must use “all the tools at its disposal” to “sweep out” NGOs funded by Soros, which “serve global capitalists and back political correctness over national governments”.

“I feel that there is an opportunity for this, internationally,” because of Trump’s election, he added.

The country’s legislature is scheduled to debate a proposed law that would allow authorities to audit NGO executives.

What Pisses Me Off About The “F@&K White People” Chicago Kidnapping Stefan Molyneux — tomfernandez28’s Blog

Da Negist13 hours ago (edited) CNN and the Chicago PD are already saying it wasn’t a hate crime and that he was targeted because of his mental handicap. Aleksandra Ostrowska14 hours ago This is what happens when the media pretends blacks can’t be racist. adobo77714 hours ago Funny, I don’t see this on any […]

via What Pisses Me Off About The “F@&K White People” Chicago Kidnapping Stefan Molyneux — tomfernandez28’s Blog

America’s Nuclear Submarines Now Obsolete? – new Swedish Technology

https://nuclear-news.net/category/1-nuclear-issues/

submarine,-nuclear-underwatDid Sweden Make America’s Nuclear Submarines Obsolete? The National Interest, 30 Dec 16 Nuclear-powered submarines have traditionally held a decisive edge in endurance, stealth and speed over cheaper diesel submarines. However, new Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology has significantly narrowed the performance gap on a new generation of submarines that cost a fraction of the price of a nuclear-powered boat……..

Nuclear vs. AIP: Who Wins?:

Broadly speaking, how do AIP vessels compare in performance to nuclear submarines?  Let’s consider the costs and benefits in terms of stealth, endurance, speed and cost.

Stealth:

Nuclear powered submarines have become very quiet—at least an order of magnitude quieter than a diesel submarine with its engine running.  In fact, nuclear-powered submarines may be unable to detect each other using passive sonar, as evidenced by the 2009 collision of a British and French nuclear ballistic missile submarines, both oblivious to the presence of the other.

However, there’s reason to believe that AIP submarines can, if properly designed, swim underwater even more quietly. The hydraulics in a nuclear reactor produce noise as they pump coolant liquid, while an AIP’s submarine’s engines are virtually silent. Diesel-powered submarines can also approach this level of quietness while running on battery power, but can only do so for a few hours whereas an AIP submarine can keep it up for days.

Diesel and AIP powered submarines have on more than one occasion managed to slip through anti-submarine defenses and sink American aircraft carriers in war games. Of course, such feats have also been performed by nuclear submarines.

Endurance:

Nuclear submarines can operate underwater for three or four months at a time and cross oceans with ease. While some conventional submarines can handle the distance, none have comparable underwater endurance.

AIP submarines have narrowed the gap, however.  While old diesel submarines needed to surface in a matter of hours or a few days at best to recharge batteries, new AIP powered vessels only need to surface every two to four weeks depending on type. (Some sources make the unconfirmed claim that the German Type 214 can even last more than 2 months.) Of course, surfaced submarines, or even those employing a snorkel, are comparatively easy to detect and attack.

Nuclear submarines still have a clear advantage in endurance over AIP boats, particularly on the long-distance patrols.  However, for countries like Japan, Germany and China that mostly operate close to friendly shores, extreme endurance may be a lower priority.

Speed:……..Obviously, high maximum speed grants advantages in both strategic mobility and tactical agility.  However, it should be kept in mind that even nuclear submarines rarely operate at maximum speed because of the additional noise produced.

 On the other hand, an AIP submarine is likely to move at especially slow speeds when cruising sustainably using AIP compared to diesel or nuclear submarines.  For example, a Gotland class submarine is reduced to just 6 miles per hour if it wishes to remain submerged at maximum endurance—which is simply too slow for long distance transits or traveling with surface ships.  Current AIP technology doesn’t produce enough power for higher speeds, and thus most AIP submarines also come with noisy diesel engines as backup.

Cost:

Who would have guessed nuclear reactors are incredibly expensive?  The contemporary U.S. Virginia class attack submarine costs $2.6 billion dollars, and the earlier Los Angeles class before it around $2 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars.  Mid-life nuclear refueling costs add millions more.

By comparison, AIP powered submarines have generally cost between $200 and $600 million, meaning a country could easily buy three or four medium-sized AIP submarines instead of one nuclear attack submarine. Bear in mind, however, that the AIP submarines are mostly small or medium sized vessels with crews of around 30 and 60 respectively, while nuclear submarines are often larger with crews of 100 or more.  They may also have heavier armament, such as Vertical Launch Systems, when compared to most AIP powered vessels.

Nevertheless, a torpedo or missile from a small submarine can hit just as hard as one fired from a large one, and having three times the number of submarine operating in a given stretch of ocean could increase the likelihood chancing upon an important target, and make it easier to overwhelm anti-submarine defenses.

While AIP vessels may not be able to do everything a nuclear submarine can, having a larger fleet of submarines would be very useful in hunting opposing ships and submarines for control of the seas. Nor would it be impossible to deploy larger AIP powered submarines; China has already deployed one, and France is marketing a cheaper AIP-powered version of the Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarine.

It is no surprise that navies that operate largely around coastal waters are turning to cheap AIP submarines, as their disadvantage are not as relevant when friendly ports are close at hand. ……..http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/did-sweden-make-americas-nuclear-submarines-obsolete-18908?page=2

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Sweden, techno

GA SECSTATE: INVESTIGATE ‘HOMELAND’ OVER HACKS! 10 ATTACKS TRACED TO DHS — tomfernandez28’s Blog

by Aaron Sheinin Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Wednesday asked President-elect Donald Trump to investigate the Department of Homeland Security’s apparent attempt to hack his office’s computer system. * In a letter to Trump, Kemp asked that the president-elect to act once he is sworn in to office in January. * READ MORE: DHS […]

via GA SECSTATE: INVESTIGATE ‘HOMELAND’ OVER HACKS! 10 ATTACKS TRACED TO DHS — tomfernandez28’s Blog

From Fukushima Diary 11/21/16 – 11/23/16

Coolant system of SFP3 in Fukushima DAINI got automatically suspended / 2544 fuel assemblies stocked

http://fukushima-diary.com/2016/11/coolant-system-of-sfp3-in-fukushima-daini-got-automatically-suspended-2544-fuel-assemblies-stocked/

Coolant system of SFP3 in Fukushima DAINI got automatically suspended / 2544 fuel assemblies stocked

According to Tepco, Fukushima DAINI‘s spent fuel pool of Reactor 3 had its coolant system suspended automatically.

It stocks 2,360 spent fuel assemblies and 184 new fuel assemblies.

No more details are announced. Approx. 30 mins before, Tsunami was observed to have reached Fukushima plant.

https: //twitter.com/nhk_seikatsu/status/800825947507212288

https://www.pref.fukushima.lg.jp/sec/16025c/genan10.html

 

Coolant system of DAINI SFP3 rebooted

Coolant system of DAINI SFP3 rebooted

According to NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority), Tepco rebooted the coolant system of SFP 3 of Fukushima DAINI at 7:47AM (JST).

Tepco explains that the tank water level related to SFP 3 became too low to sound the alarm and suspended the pump at 6:10AM.

1m high Tsunami was observed to have reached Fukushima DAINI at 6:30AM.

No more details are released by Tepco about Fukushima plants.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20161122/k10010779181000.html

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1705111473136828&id=100009139763967&pnref=story

 

[Breaking] Iwaki city coastal area overly jammed / Run by foot now

http://fukushima-diary.com/2016/11/breaking-iwaki-city-coastal-area-overly-jammed-run-by-foot-now/

[Breaking] Iwaki city coastal area overly jammed / Run by foot now

Following up this article.. [Breaking] M7.3 Fukushima offshore / 3m of Tsunami is coming / Fukushima plant status unknown [URL]

A local posted on twitter that the coastal area of Iwaki city has too heavy traffic right now. Please get off from your car and run to the higher ground by foot now. This is reportedly from the eldest daughter’s information of the poster.

Tsunami was observed about 20km offshore. It is reaching the coastal area soon.

https: //twitter.com/paakokooko20618/status/800812437230403586

 

Marine radiation monitoring post down after M7.4

Marine radiation monitoring post down after M7.4

Following up this article.. [Breaking] M7.3 Fukushima offshore / 3m of Tsunami is coming / Fukushima plant status unknown [URL]

In the evening of 11/22/2016, Tepco announced the radiation monitoring post in the sea has been suspended due to the quake. The post is situated at the end of the breakwater of Fukushima plant port. They cannot monitor the radioactive substance spreading to the Pacific with this monitoring post out of order.

They also admitted the underwater fence was damaged, and also the coolant water got out of the common spent fuel pool due to the quake. It reportedly spread over 2m * 3m but the exact volume is not announced.

About 40 minutes after the quake, Tepco announced they found no abnormality in Fukushima plant however 1m high tsunami was observed reaching the plant port.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/press/mail/2016/1339057_8708.html

 

Aftershocks occurred over 85 times by 11am of 23rd Nov after M7.4\

http://fukushima-diary.com/2016/11/aftershocks-occurred-over-85-times-by-11am-of-23rd-nov-after-m7-4/

Aftershocks occurred over 85 times by 11am of 23rd Nov after M7.4

Following up this article.. [Breaking] M7.3 Fukushima offshore / 3m of Tsunami is coming / Fukushima plant status unknown [URL]

According to JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency), they observed over 85 aftershocks by 11:00 AM (JST) of 11/23/2016. This is the count of the quakes of seismic scale 1 ~. They warn the same level of the earthquake (M7.4) may happen this week again, which also may cause Tsunami.

They observed 7 quakes of seismic scale over 3.

aftershocks-occurred-over-85-times-by-11am-of-23rd-nov-after-m7-4 aftershocks-occurred-over-85-times-by-11am-of-23rd-nov-after-m7-4-2 aftershocks-occurred-over-85-times-by-11am-of-23rd-nov-after-m7-4-3

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/quake_local_index.html

http://2ch-news.co/newsplus/1479879660/

 

 

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