WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The possible bankruptcy of U.S. nuclear developer Westinghouse Electric Co is a “concern” for President Donald Trump’s administration and a potential national security issue, an administration official told Reuters on Tuesday.
Washington was in touch with the Japanese government over the issue, given that Westinghouse’s parent is the Japanese firm, Toshiba Corp, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We are going to express quietly at the working level the concern that if several different things happen in a bad way, there’s a potential national security issue here,” the official said.
Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse plans to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors on Tuesday as it struggles to limit losses that have thrown Toshiba into crisis, people familiar with Toshiba’s thinking said.
As well as building civilian nuclear reactors, Westinghouse has been the leading supplier of reactors for nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carriers, submarines and other warships.
“It is a concern,” the 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.”
He said any sale of Westinghouse would be overseen by the Japanese equivalent of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an inter-agency body of the U.S. government that reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in firms.
“As a strategic question, this is a pretty good example how the U.S.-Japan alliance remains incredibly close and we continue to talk to them every single day about issues like this before they become a problem,” the official said.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Peter Cooney)