Talk #48, 6/17/09

Nuclear Energy and the Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor

Craig Smith

Nuclear Energy and the Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor

Recent years have seen a growing interest in nuclear energy, setting the stage for a possible renewal, sometimes called a “nuclear renaissance.” While much of the initial attention centers on updated light water reactor designs (i.e., Generation III, or advanced light-water reactors, ALWR), there has also been considerable interest in the development of alternative and more advanced systems (i.e., Generation IV). One of the promising new Generation IV reactor types is the lead-cooled fast reactor. In the recent years there have been parallel development efforts in the US and in Europe to bring such systems to realization. While not a completely new idea (a Russian program built and operated such reactors for submarine propulsion), the concept is fairly new in the West, and the efforts to design such systems have led to a number of interesting and promising innovations.


The following is a link to the full presentation (ppt format).


Here you can see a short movie on the Russian Alpha submarines based on the lead-cooled reactor concept. The movie is fun to watch even if you do not know Russian.

Movie – PC Version

Movie – MAC Version