Outokumpu, the world's leading producer of sustainable stainless steel, and Fortum, a leading Nordic clean energy company, have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore decarbonization of Outokumpu's steel production with new nuclear technology - small modular reactors (SMRs).
The agreement initiates a long-term process to access the potential construction of an SMR in Finland. The first phase of the agreement is to identify potential business models and technical solutions for further development. Any investment decisions will be made at a later stage.
Outokumpu is committed to the 1.5°C climate target of the Science-Based Targets initiative. Maintaining and increasing the share of low-carbon energy is important to achieve the company's ambitious sustainability goals. In ensuring energy efficiency, emission reduction and competitiveness in Finland, both Outokumpu and Fortum play a key role. One possible site option would be the Tornio region of Finland, where Outokumpu's largest plant is located.
"We are at the forefront of decarbonizing the steel industry. Finding new technologies for our energy supply is a natural step in our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to wind, solar and hydro power, energy-intensive industries, and society as a whole need stable and CO2-free power generation. Nuclear energy is the only alternative to this today. That's why we're pleased to be working with Fortum to explore the opportunities that small modular reactors offer as we move toward sustainability. Outokumpu is the largest electricity consumer in Finland. For the steel industry in Finland to remain competitive, we need to have enough low-carbon and low-cost energy," says Heikki Malinen, President and CEO of Outokumpu.
Promoting the Nordic industries
Fortum aims to drive decarbonization and growth of Nordic industries by offering clean energy and CO2-free solutions to its customers.
"Decarbonization of heavy industry is a prerequisite for achieving CO2 neutrality in Europe, and this requires significant amounts of clean energy. The Nordic electricity market is extremely competitive when it comes to clean and affordable energy, and Fortum is one of the few European companies that can already deliver this energy to our customers reliably, on demand and on a large scale. In the future, however, even more will be needed. That's why we are pleased to be working with a steel industry pioneer like Outokumpu to explore the future potential of new nuclear power plants in the Nordic countries," says Markus Rauramo, President, and CEO of Fortum.