Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor

The lead-cooled fast reactor (LCFR) is another Gen IV-B system (Sinco, 2003). It utilises lead or lead — bismuth eutectic cooling in a fast spectrum system with the attributes of full actinide recycle fuel cycle and efficient conversion of fertile uranium (Overview of Generation IV Roadmap). It offers the prospect of a very long core life up to around 30 years with the obvious proliferation benefits.

It could be put forward at a range of different ratings from a small ‘battery’ scale, a medium-scale modular version, or a large scale of the greater than 1000 MWe range. It, therefore, offers a flexible option for distributed generation of electricity on small grids and for other energy products, including hydrogen products or desalination, through to large-scale electricity generation. The LCFR requires significant materials advancements for application in corrosive high-temperature environments. It is not expected to be available commercially until around the 2030-2050 timescale.

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