For more than a decade, GIF has led international collaborative efforts to develop next generation nuclear energy systems that can help meet the world’s future energy needs. Generation IV designs will use fuel more efficiently, reduce waste production, be economically competitive, and meet stringent standards of safety and proliferation resistance.
With these goals in mind, some 100 experts evaluated 130 reactor concepts before GIF selected six reactor technologies for further research and development. These include the: Gas-cooled Fast Reactor (GFR), Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR), Molten Salt Reactor (MSR), Supercritical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR), Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) and Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR).
Some of these reactor designs could be demonstrated within the next decade, with commercial deployment beginning in 2030. China has begun construction of a prototype High Temperature Reactor (HTR-PM) a first step towards the development of the VHTR. Both France and Russia are developing advanced sodium-fast reactor designs for near-term demonstration. A prototype lead fast reactor is also expected to be built in Russia in the 2020 time frame.