Home >> Research Programs >> Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Advances

We are coordinating the Generation IV Nuclear Systems Initiative - an international effort to develop the next generation of nuclear power reactors.

Next Generation of Reactors

The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) is part of the federal government's effort to advance commercial nuclear reactor designs beyond the current generation that is being deployed around the world. Additionally, the NGNP is a key component in the Administration's plans to develop the hydrogen economy. Another important purpose of the advanced nuclear demonstration plant is to produce hydrogen on a large scale.

The technology involved in the NGNP is sometimes referred to as the very-high temperature reactor and is one of six concepts selected in 2002 by a group of countries who joined together to form the Generation IV International Forum.

The Generation IV Systems selected in 2002 are:

  • Very-High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR): a graphite-moderated, helium-cooled reactor with a once-through uranium fuel cycle
  • Supercritical-Water-Cooled Reactor (SCWR): a high-temperature, high-pressure water-cooled reactor that operates above the thermodynamic critical point of water
  • Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (GFR): features a fast-neutron-spectrum, helium-cooled reactor and closed fuel cycle
  • Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR): features a fast-spectrum lead of lead/bismuth eutectic liquid metal-cooled reactor and a closed fuel cycle for efficient conversion of fertile uranium and management of actinides
  • Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR): features a fast-spectrum, sodium-cooled reactor and closed fuel cycle for efficient management of actinides and conversion of fertile uranium
  • Molten Salt Reactor (MSR): produces fission power in a circulating molten salt fuel mixture with an epithermal-spectrum reactor and a full actinide recycle fuel cycle

View the Gen IV and NGNP Deliverables.
View the Industry Consortia and Collaboration Information.

Page Contact Information:

Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office