US-based NuScale Power Corporation and Nucor Corporation (Nucor) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore co-locating NuScale’s VOYGR small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) power plants to provide power to Nucor’s scrap-based Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steel mills. An expanded manufacturing partnership will also be considered, whereby Nucor will supply, its net-zero steel Econiq products, for NuScale projects.

Nucor describes Econiq as "the world's first net-zero steel at scale". It adds: "Econiq is not a single product; it is a net-zero certification, which can be applied to any product from Nucor's steel mills." The company said it achieves net-zero on Econiq products by using electricity from 100% renewable sources and by purchasing carbon offsets. The US Department of Energy has identified emissions reductions in the steel manufacturing industry as an important step to reach net-zero by 2050.

The two companies will evaluate site suitability, transmission interconnection capabilities and capital costs for potential NuScale plants to be sited near Nucor EAF steel mills and provide them with electricity. NuScale also will study the feasibility of siting a manufacturing facility for NuScale Power Modules near a Nucor facility. Nucor earlier invested $15m in NuScale in 2022.

NuScale says its VOYGR power plants are well-suited for industrial applications as a highly reliable source of carbon-free energy. They are powered by the NuScale Power Module, a small pressurised water reactor that can each generate 77 MWe or 250 MWt (gross), and can be scaled to meet customer needs through flexible configurations up to 924 MWe (12 modules) of output. NuScale’s design is the first and only SMR to be certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

John Hopkins, NuScale President & CEO said: “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 Chair, President & CEO noted: “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.”


Image: Inside Nucor's Electric Arc Furnace steel mill (courtesy of Nucor)