Ports & Terminals

Nucor Plans Ohio River Fleeting Area For New Mill

Nucor Steel West Virginia has applied to the Huntington Engineer District for a permit to build a fleeting area capable of holding 40 barges in the Ohio River about 2 miles below the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam.

The dock is part of the company’s plans to build a $2.7 billion sheet steel mill at Apple Grove, W.Va., to make sheet steel for the appliance and other industries. Nucor Steel’s parent company, Nucor Corporation, announced the plan in January. The mill has already received its air permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Nucor said it also plans to build a processing and transloading facility in the Weirton, W.Va., area. That facility would receive material shipped by barge from Apple Grove in preparation for shipment to customers in the Northeast. Nucor has not announced its preferred site for that project yet, although it has identified potential sites.

The Apple Grove mill will make steel from scrap that arrives by barge and rail.

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The permit request with the Huntington District was filed May 11. The public comment period ends June 11. Nucor plans to begin construction on the mill later this year and have it in production before the end of 2024.

The barge dock would be for unloading raw material for the mill and shipping finished product. Material would also be shipped by rail, with service provided by CSX.

According to the permit notice, Nucor would build five new barge fleeting areas along about 2 miles of riverbank on the West Virginia side. Each fleeting area would include three new mooring cells. The cells would be sheet pile cells, backfilled with suitable clean fill material, each with a maximum 40-foot diameter. The maximum riverward extension of each cell would be no more than 100 feet from the normal pool elevation. Each of the five fleeting areas would include mooring of a maximum of eight barges in a four-long by two-wide arrangement. The maximum riverward extent of the fleeting areas, with moored barges, would be no more than 245 feet from the normal pool elevation.

The proposed inbound loading dock would consist of a sheet pile bulkhead wall with an approximate riverward extent of 90 feet from the normal pool shoreline. The proposed outbound barge-loading dock would consist of a sheet pile wall with an approximate riverward projection of 80 feet. The outbound dock would include an overhanging roof with a maximum riverward extent of approximately 180 feet, secured with nine 4-foot-diameter pilings. Each of the inbound and outbound docks would include two dolphin mooring cells. Two new mooring cells at the southern end of the site would be installed to unload direct reduced iron, a raw material in the steelmaking process.

A wastewater treatment system would be built on site, and a single treatment outfall would be installed within the footprint of the inbound dock and mooring cells. Nucor expects to discharge about 3 million gallons per day. The proposed mixing zone extends 2,000 feet downstream of the proposed wastewater discharge and within 200 feet of the riverbank. The wastewater treatment system plan is currently under review by the WVDEP.

The Apple Grove mill will have the capacity to produce 3 million tons of steel annually to serve customers in the Midwest and the Northeast. The new mill will be equipped to produce 84-inch sheet products, and among other features, will include a 76-inch tandem cold mill and two galvanizing lines. Galvanizing capabilities will include an advanced high-end automotive line with full inspection capabilities as well as a construction-grade line.

In addition to its advanced capabilities and optimal strategic location, the new greenfield mill will have a significantly lower carbon footprint than competitors that have historically supplied the region.

The Apple Grove mill will be Nucor’s third location along the Ohio River, and Weirton will be its fourth. Nucor owns and operates a mill in Gallatin County, Ky., near the Markland Locks and Dam, and it is building a plate mill at Brandenburg, Ky. That mill is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

Nucor also owns Nucor Tubular Products, which has an operation in Louisville, Ky.