Nordic power company Fortum and stainless-steel producer Outokumpu have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the decarbonization of Outokumpu’s steelmaking through the use of emerging nuclear technologies.

The technologies would include small modular reactors (SMRs), a proposed class of nuclear fission reactors, smaller than conventional nuclear reactors, which can be built in one location (such as a factory), then shipped, commissioned, and operated at a separate site.

According to Fortum president and CEO Markus Rauramo, decarbonizing heavy industries ‘is a prerequisite for reaching carbon-neutrality in the Europe and this requires significant amounts of clean energy’.

“The Nordic market is extremely competitive when it comes to clean and affordable power, and Fortum is one of the very few European companies that can deliver it reliably, when needed and at scale to our customers already today.''

Markus Rauramo, president and CEO, Fortum

Rauramo added: “The Nordic market is extremely competitive when it comes to clean and affordable power, and Fortum is one of the very few European companies that can deliver it reliably, when needed and at scale to our customers already today. In the future, however, more will be needed.”

The agreement initiates a long-term process seeking to assess the construction of SMRs in Finland, with a potential location being the Tornio region in Finland, where Outokumpu’s largest mill is situated.

The MOU is part of Fortum’s two-year Nuclear Feasibility Study launched in November 2022. The study looks to explore commercial, technological, societal, political, legal, and regulatory conditions for both SMRs and conventional large reactors in Finland and Sweden.

“Looking into emerging technologies in our energy supply, is a natural step in our ambition to reduce CO2 emissions.”

Heikki Malinen, president and CEO, Outokumpu

“Looking into emerging technologies in our energy supply, is a natural step in our ambition to reduce CO2 emissions,” said Heikki Malinen, president and CEO of Outokumpu. “In addition to wind, solar, and hydropower, energy intensive industries and the whole society needs stable and CO2 free electricity generation. Today nuclear power is the only alternative for this.”

Source: Nuclear Engineering International