NuScale, Nucor mull pairing SMR plants with steel mills

May 22, 2023, 12:03PMNuclear News
A Nucor electric arc furnace. (Photo: Nucor)

NuScale Power and steel manufacturer Nucor have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the deployment of NuScale’s VOYGR small modular reactor plants at Nucor’s scrap-based electric arc furnace (EAF) steel mills, the Portland, Ore.–based SMR developer announced Tuesday.

Under the MOU, NuScale and Nucor will evaluate site suitability, transmission interconnection capabilities, and capital costs for VOYGR plants to be sited near and provide electricity to EAF steel mills. Additionally, NuScale will study the feasibility of siting a manufacturing facility for its power modules near a Nucor facility.

The MOU also calls for the companies to explore an expanded manufacturing partnership through which Nucor would supply Econiq, its net-zero steel product line, for NuScale projects.

A good fit: VOYGR power plants, designed to accommodate up to 12 77-MWe power modules for a total capacity of 924 MWe, “are well-suited for industrial applications as a highly reliable source of carbon-free energy,” NuScale stated in Tuesday’s announcement. “As the first and only SMR design to be approved and certified by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NuScale’s VOYGR plants include fully passive safety features which eliminate the need for an external grid connection to perform key safety functions and can achieve a site boundary emergency planning zone, improving plant siting flexibility for industrial users like Nucor.”

According to Nucor’s website, while its EAF steel mill emissions are only one-fourth the global average currently, the company has committed to an additional 35 percent combined reduction in steel mill scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas intensity by 2030, using 2015 baseline goals.

More Nucor: Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Nucor has facilities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Products include carbon and alloy steel—in bars, beams, sheet, and plate; hollow structural section tubing; electrical conduit; steel racking; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; precision castings; steel fasteners; metal building systems; insulated metal panels; overhead doors; steel grating; and wire and wire mesh.

In April 2022, Nucor committed to a $15 million private investment in public equity—a so-called PIPE—in furtherance of the NuScale–Spring Valley Acquisition merger announced in December 2021 and completed in May of last year.

Signers’ language: “NuScale is thrilled to take this step forward with Nucor, a company that shares our commitment to sustainability and deeply understands the role of NuScale’s technology in delivering clean, reliable baseload power to support the global energy transition,” declared John Hopkins, NuScale’s president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to determining how our SMR technology can best serve Nucor’s sophisticated steelmaking operations and how our companies can work together to drive a more sustainable future.”

Leon Topalian, Nucor’s chair, president, and CEO, said, “Nucor is committed to supporting the development of transformative technologies that will deploy safe, reliable, affordable, 24/7, baseload carbon-free power, like NuScale’s VOYGR SMR plants. Not only will Nucor’s partnership with NuScale help pave the way for a zero-carbon energy future for our nation, but we will be building this new generation with the cleanest steel products made anywhere in the world.”

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