Lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) overview and perspectives
Smith, Craig F.
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The GIF Technology Roadmap identified the Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) as a technology with great potential to meet the small-unit electricity needs of remote sites while also offering advantages as a large system for grid-connected power stations. The LFR features a fast- neutron spectrum and a closed fuel cycle for efficient conversion of fertile uranium. It can also be used as a burner of minor actinides from spent fuel and as a burner/breeder. An important feature of the LFR is the enhanced safety that results from the choice of a relatively inert coolant. In the Roadmap, the LFR was primarily envisioned for missions in electricity and hydrogen production, and actinide management. The application of lead technology to nuclear energy had its start in Russia in the 1970s and 80s where nuclear systems cooled by Lead-Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) were developed and deployed for submarine propulsion. More recently, attention to heavy liquid metal coolants for reactors has developed in several countries around the globe as their advantageous characteristics have gradually become recognized. This paper illustrates the technical progress achieved in the various countries.
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