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Collapse in Nucor La. plant dome to delay start

Keywords: Tags  Nucor, direct-reduced iron, DRI, St. James Parish plant, Louisiana facility, John Ferriola, iron ore, dome collapse Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — A structural failure at Nucor Corp.’s direct-reduced iron (DRI) facility in St. James Parish, La., will delay its start-up until year-end.

The incident occurred Sept. 25 when a storage dome collapsed at the facility, the company said Sept. 26, adding there were no injuries or environmental impact.

"Nucor Steel Louisiana is finishing construction of its new (DRI) plant on the site and had planned to begin production within a few weeks," the Charlotte, N.C.-based steel producer said. "Based on our preliminary assessment, we are currently forecasting the start-up of operations will now be delayed until the end of the year."

St. James Parish Sheriff Willy J. Martin Jr. said he received a call that indicated an explosion might have occurred at the facility, he told AMM.

"It turned out it wasn’t an explosion but a structural failure," he said. "They have three domes where they store raw materials and one of those three domes collapsed. It fell on top of the product that’s in it, the raw material product, and there was no hazardous material."

Once the area was inspected and all personnel were accounted for, Martin called off first responders, he added.

The domes carry iron ore pellets, which are converted into DRI through the use of natural gas. Nucor added that construction and hot commissioning of the plant are continuing during an investigation of the incident and damage assessment.

Nucor president and chief executive officer John Ferriola said during the company’s most recent earnings call that it was hoping to start the plant by the end of September. Following completion of the plant, coupled with the 2 million tons of annual capacity at its Trinidad DRI facility, Nucor will achieve two-thirds of its long-term goal to control 6 million to 7 million tons of annual capacity in high-quality scrap substitutes (, July 19).

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