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Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR)

The Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) features a fast neutron spectrum, high temperature operation, and cooling by molten lead or lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE), low-pressure, chemically inert liquids with very good thermodynamic properties. It would have multiple applications including production of electricity, hydrogen and process heat. System concepts represented in plans of the Generation-IV International Forum (GIF) System Research Plan (SRP) are based on Europe’s ELFR lead-cooled system, Russia’s BREST-OD-300 and the SSTAR system concept designed in the US.

Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor

The LFR has excellent materials management capabilities since it operates in the fast-neutron spectrum and uses a closed fuel cycle for efficient conversion of fertile uranium. It can also be used as a burner to consume actinides from spent LWR fuel and as a burner/breeder with thorium matrices. An important feature of the LFR is the enhanced safety that results from the choice of molten lead as a chemically inert and low-pressure coolant. In terms of sustainability, lead is abundant and hence available, even in case of deployment of a large number of reactors. More importantly, as with other fast systems, fuel sustainability is greatly enhanced by the conversion capabilities of the LFR fuel cycle. Because they incorporate a liquid coolant with a very high margin to boiling and benign interaction with air or water, LFR concepts offer substantial potential in terms of safety, design simplification, proliferation resistance and the resulting economic performance. An important factor is the potential for benign end state to severe accidents.

The LFR has development needs in the areas of fuels, materials performance, and corrosion control. During the next 5 years progress is expected on materials, system design, and operating parameters. Significant test and demonstration activities are underway and planned during this time frame.

 

References

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  • Alan E. Waltar, Donald R. Todd, Pavel V. Tsvetkov, Fast Spectrum Reactors, Springer, New York, 2012.
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  • Alemberti et al., “The European Lead Fast Reactor: design, safety approach and safety characteristics,” IAEA Technical meeting on impact of Fukushima event on current and future FR designs, Dresden, Germany, 2012.
  • Alemberti et al., “The Lead Fast Reactor – Demonstrator (ALFRED) and ELFR Design,” International conference on fast reactor and nuclear fuel cycle (FR13), Paris, France, 2013.
  • M. Takahashi, “LFR Development in Japan,” 11th LFR Prov. SSC Meeting, Pisa, Italy, 16 April 2012.
  • M. Takahashi et al., “Pb-Bi-Cooled Direct Contact Boiling Water Small Reactor”, Progress in Nuclear Energy, 47 190-201(2005).
  • H. Sekimoto, A. Nagata, “Fuel Cycle for “CANDLE” Reactors,” Proc. of Workshop on Advanced Reactors With Innovative Fuels ARWIF-2008, Tsuruga/Fukui, 20-22 February 2008.
  • W. J. Kim et al., “Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Brayton Power Conversion Cycle Design for Optimized Battery-Type Integral Reactor System”, Paper 6142, ICAPP-06, Reno, NV, USA, June 4-8, 2006.
  • I. S. Hwang, “A Sustainable Regional Waste Transmutation System: PEACER”, Plenary Invited Paper, ICAPP-06, Reno, NV, U.S.A., June 4-6, 2006.
  • C. Smith, W. Halsey, N. Brown, J. Sienicki, A. Moisseytsev, D. Wade, “SSTAR: The US lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR),” Journal of Nuclear Materials, Volume 376, Issue 3, 15 June 2008, pp. 255-259.
  • M. P. Short and R. G. Ballinger, Design of a Functionally Graded Composite for Service in High Temperature Lead and Lead-Bismuth Cooled Nuclear Reactors, MIT-ANP-TR-131, 2010.
  • GIF-LFR Provisional System Steering Committee (PSSC), “Draft System Research Plan for the Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR)”, 2008.
  • G. I. Toshinsky, O. G. Komlev, I. V. Tormyshev, et al. “Effect of Potential Energy Stored in Reactor Facility Coolant on NPP Safety and Economic Parameters”, Proceedings of ICAPP 2011, Nice, France, May 2-5, 2011, Paper 11465.

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