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Lead cooled fast reactor scheme.

The lead-cooled fast reactor is a nuclear power Generation IV reactor that features a fast neutron spectrum, molten lead or lead-bismuth eutectic coolant, and a closed fuel cycle. Options include a range of plant ratings, including a number of 50 to 150 MWe (megawatts electric) units featuring long-life, pre-manufactured cores. Plans include modular arrangements rated at 300 to 400 MW, and a large monolithic plant rated at 1,200 MW. The fuel is metal or nitride-based containing fertile uranium and transuranics. The LFR is cooled by natural convection with a reactor outlet coolant temperature of 550 °C, possibly ranging over 800 °C with advanced materials. Temperatures higher than 830 °C are high enough to support thermochemical production of hydrogen.

The reactors are intended for use in nuclear power plants to produce nuclear power from nuclear fuel.


Modular nuclear reactors

The LFR battery is a small factory-built turnkey plant operating on a closed fuel cycle with very long refueling interval (15 to 20 years) cassette cores or replaceable reactor modules. Its features are designed to meet market opportunities for electricity production on small grids, and for developing countries that may not wish to deploy an indigenous fuel cycle infrastructure to support their nuclear energy systems. The modular "battery" system (ie consisting of a number of identical elements, not "battery" in the sense of an electro-chemical energy storage system), is designed for distributed generation of electricity and other energy products, including hydrogen and potable water.




Two types of LFR reactor were used in Soviet Alfa class submarines of the 1970s. The OK-550 and BM-40A designs were both capable of producing 155MWt. They were significantly lighter than typical water-cooled reactors and had an advantage of being capable to quickly switch between maximum power and minimum noise operation modes, but lacked reliability, as solidifying of lead-bismuth solution turned the reactor inoperable. However, lead-bismuth eutectic has a very low melting temperature, 123.5 °C (254.3 °F), making desolidification a relatively easily accomplished task.

A joint venture called AKME Engineering was announced on 25 December 2009 between Rosatom and En+ Group, to develop a commercial lead-bismuth reactor.[1] The SVBR-100 ('Svintsovo-Vismutovyi Bystryi Reaktor' - lead-bismuth fast reactor) is based on the Alfa designs and will produce 100MWe electricity from gross thermal power of 280MWt,[1] about twice that of the submarine reactors. They can also be used in groups of up to 16 if more power is required.[1] The coolant increases from 345 °C (653 °F) to 495 °C (923 °F) as it goes through the core.[1] Uranium oxide enriched to 16.5% U-235 could be used as fuel, and refuelling would be required every 7-8 years.[1] A prototype is planned for 2019.


According to Nuclear Engineering International, the initial design of the Hyperion Power Module will be of this type, using uranium nitride fuel encased in HT-9 tubes, using a quartz reflector, and lead-bismuth eutectic as coolant.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Initiative for small fast reactors". World Nuclear News. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  2. ^ "Hyperion launches U2N3-fuelled, Pb-Bi-cooled fast reactor" (in English). Nuclear Engineering International (Global Trade Media). 2009-11-20. Retrieved 03 December 2009. 

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