VC Summer nuclear (copy) (copy)

Westinghouse was the lead contractor on the failed expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station (above) near Jenkinsville. File/Provided

The company at the heart of the failed expansion of the V.C Summer Nuclear Station is being sold.

Brookfield Business Partners LP is buying Westinghouse Electric Co. in a deal valued at about $4.6 billion.

Westinghouse, the U.S. nuclear reactor design and construction unit of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

South Carolina utility owners SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper would later point to the Pittsburgh-based company's collapse as one of the key reasons they chose to abandon the V.C. Summer project in July. Westinghouse was the lead contractor at the Fairfield County work site, which was plagued by years of delays and cost overruns and has cost South Carolina ratepayers billions of dollars.

The planned Brookfield deal is the latest ripple from the V.C. Summer fallout. Cayce-based SCANA, the owner of South Carolina Electric & Gas, agreed to be sold Wednesday to Dominion Energy. That proposed deal offers $1.3 billion in refunds for SCE&G customers.

Meanwhile, Gov. Henry McMaster is pushing to sell state-owned Santee Cooper.

The nuclear power industry has struggled both because of the tremendous cost of building reactors and the accelerating shift to other forms of energy like natural gas and alternative energy, like solar. The industry, and Toshiba in particular, has been subjected tighter regulatory control following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in northeastern Japan.

Toshiba has been dumping assets to cover for its disastrous immersion into nuclear power, a play it saw once as a safe infrastructure investment, free of the seasonal fluctuations of the power generation industry.

Westinghouse said Thursday that its sale to Brookfield doesn't involve cash and includes the assumption of a number of pension, environmental and operating obligations. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. It requires court approval.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott