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Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR)

The Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) system features a fast-spectrum lead or lead/bismuth eutectic liquid metal-cooled reactor and a closed fuel cycle for efficient conversion of fertile uranium and management of actinides.

The lead (Pb) coolant exhibits very low parasitic absorption of fast neutrons, and this enables the sustainability and fuel cycle benefits traditionally associated with liquid metal-cooled fast spectrum reactors. Pb does not react readily with air, water/steam, or carbon dioxide, eliminating concerns about vigorous exothermic reactions. It has a high boiling temperature (1,740 C), so the need to operate under high pressure and the prospect of boiling or flashing in case of pressure reduction are eliminated.

The LFR is mainly envisioned for electricity and hydrogen production and actinide management. Options for the LFR include a range of plant ratings and sizes from small modular systems to multi-hundred megawatt sized plants. Two key technical aspects of the LFR that offer the prospect for achieving non-proliferation, sustainability, safety and reliability, and economics goals are the use of Pb coolant and a long-life, cartridge-core architecture in a small, modular system intended for deployment with small grids or remote locations. Some technologies for the LFR have already been successfully demonstrated internationally.

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Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office