Mar 29, 2017

America's big nuclear bankruptcy

Peretz Partensky via Flickr CC

Westinghouse Electric, the U.S. nuclear power subsidiary of Japan's Toshiba Corp., today filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

What happened: As Axios previously reported, Westinghouse experienced massive cost overruns on reactors in Georgia and South Carolina, which "effectively cost the Japanese parent company more than it originally paid to buy Westingthouse in 2006."

Why it matters: This bankruptcy filing raises the prospect that those new reactors won't get finished, and that U.S. taxpayers could be on the hook thanks to a $8.3 billion guaranteed credit facility from the U.S. government. Moreover, Westinghouse is the only company to receive U.S. building permits for new nuclear power plants since the Three Mile Island incident nearly four decades ago.

Context: President Trump has been a vocal supporter of nuclear power, and his recent rollbacks of environmental regulations could make nuclear more price competitive.

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The Humanity First push for a coronavirus vaccine

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Policy responses to the global coronavirus crisis have been every-country-for-itself and — in the case of the U.S. and China — tinged with geopolitics.

The flipside: The scientific work underway to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalized on an unprecedented scale.

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Trump attacks Schumer for impeachment in letter about coronavirus crisis

President Trump briefs reports on April 2. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of being "missing in action" during the coronavirus crisis, writing in a scathing letter on Thursday that Schumer's focus on the "ridiculous impeachment hoax" resulted in New York being ill-prepared for the pandemic.

Why it matters: It's a blistering response to Schumer urging Trump to assign a senior military officer to enforce the Defense Production Act to produce more medical supplies.

World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Novel coronavirus infections have hit the 1 million mark after "near exponential growth" that's reached "almost every country," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday.

The big picture: The global death toll exceeded 50,000 on Thursday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported nearly 14,000 deaths. Governments around the world have introduced public health and economic measures to try and curb the impact of the virus.

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