Westinghouse sale another sign of a new nuclear age • The Register

Uranium fuel producer Cameco Corp and investment firm Brookfield Renewable Partners intend to buy Westinghouse Electric Company to help accelerate the nuclear revival.

The deal will cost the couple (and Brookfield Renewable’s unnamed institutional partners) $7.85 billion, including $4.5 billion in equity and the remainder to take on the company’s debt. Westinghouse President and CEO Patrick Fragman says the agreement opens a new chapter, not only for Westinghouse Electric Company but also for nuclear power.

“We are proud to join Brookfield Renewable and Cameco in affirming the important role Westinghouse and nuclear power are playing in enabling the world’s clean energy transition and energy security goals,” Fragman said in a statement.

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Nuclear power appears to be entering a renaissance phase. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), nuclear power generation must more than double by 2050 to help the world meet global warming reduction goals.

The IEA isn’t the only group campaigning for nuclear power – Japan recently lifted its ban on nuclear power after the Fukushima meltdown 11 years ago, paving the way for the reopening of closed plants and the construction of new ones.

Environmental responsibilities aside, Cameco CEO and President Tim Gitzel said there’s never been a better time to get into nuclear power, although it’s worth bearing in mind that his organization produces uranium fuel for such facilities.

“We are witnessing some of the best market fundamentals we have seen in the nuclear power sector. [It is] increasingly important in a world prioritizing electrification, decarbonization and energy security,” said Gitzel.

Cameco and Brookfield Renewable also advocated the construction of large-scale and modular nuclear power plants. Smaller reactors are being developed, including a liquid salt reactor that fits in the back of a flatbed trailer, or more traditional small modular water reactors.

It is not known which direction Cameco and Brookfield Westinghouse plan to take, although the pair said they are well-positioned to “deliver on the growing pipeline of nuclear power plant expansion and upgrades and to meet the increasing demand” for new smaller reactors – no mention of the type.

Westinghouse Electric Company is currently owned by Brookfield Business Partners, a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable under parent company Brookfield Asset Management.

Brookfield Business bought Westinghouse Electric Company from Toshiba in 2018 after the latter brought Westinghouse into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings to restructure it. Brookfield said Westinghouse management nearly doubled the company’s profitability by restructuring and refocusing its services.

Westinghouse Electric Company is also independent of Westinghouse Electric Corporation, from which it spun off in 1999 after Westinghouse (then known as CBS Corp) merged with Viacom and attempted to ditch the last of its industrial businesses.

The deal is still under negotiation and is not expected to close until the second half of 2023. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/12/westinghouse_sale_nuclear/ Westinghouse sale another sign of a new nuclear age • The Register

Rick Schindler

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