Dow, X-Energy to work on small modular nuclear power for US Gulf Coast chems site

Stefan Baumgarten


HOUSTON (ICIS)–Chemicals major Dow has signed a letter of intent with X-Energy to develop small modular nuclear technology options to provide process heat and power at one of Dow’s US Gulf Coast facilities by about 2030, it said on Tuesday.

Small modular nuclear is a key technology to enable energy-intensive industries to decarbonise, Dow said.

With the move, Dow is the first manufacturer to formally announce the intention to develop small modular nuclear technology options, it said.

While Dow has been talking about this for some time, moving into nuclear is seen as a bold move not just for the company but for a manufacturer in general.

Nuclear is the only form of base emission-free electricity. Depending on Dow’s success with this project, other manufacturers may jump on the bandwagon.

“Advanced small modular nuclear technology is going to be a critical tool for Dow’s path to zero-carbon emissions and our ability to drive growth by delivering low-carbon products to our customers,” said CEO Jim Fitterling.

“X-energy’s technology is among the most advanced, and when deployed will deliver safe, reliable, low-carbon power and steam. This is a great opportunity for Dow to lead our industry in carbon neutral manufacturing by deploying next-generation nuclear energy,” Fitterling said.

Dow and X-energy will collaborate with the intent to deploy X-energy’s Xe-100 high-temperature gas reactor technology at one of Dow’s US Gulf Coast sites – which is expected to be operational by a about 2030.

The Xe-100 reactor plant would provide cost-competitive, carbon free process heat and power to the Dow facility.

Dow also intends to take a minority equity stake in X-energy, working with the company to deploy small modular nuclear technology, it said.

X-energy, of Rockville, Maryland, is a nuclear energy company focused on the development of next-generation, zero-carbon nuclear energy.

In 2020, X-energy was selected by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program to deliver a four-unit Xe-100 plant in Washington state, which will make it among the first operational grid-scale advanced reactor plants in North America.

Dow’s announcement on Tuesday marks an additional step in the company’s efforts to deliver a 30% reduction in scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions since 2005 by 2030, on its path to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, it said.

Last year, Dow announced plans to build the world’s first net-zero (scope 1 and 2 emissions) carbon emissions integrated ethylene cracker and derivatives site in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

Al Greenwood contributed to this article

Thumbnail photo: A nuclear power plant; Shutterstock ID 92878072


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