Differently from, are presently very much looked for in the perspective of maximizing energy sustainability.
Actually, the interest for these kind of systems is as old as nuclear history: the first power reactor ever – EBR-1, the Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 – was a fast spectrum system indeed. The mirage for generating new fuel, possibly more than that consumed, drove the efforts of the scientists Worldwide. In France, the prototype for the commercial fast reactor to be deployed in the ’80s was named “Phénix” to evocate the idea of something (the new fuel) being generated from ashes (the fuel being used).
However, the development of these systems was slowed down by the discovery of new uranium resources and the drop of uranium cost, so that it took 20 years to raise again the attention on the potentialities of fast spectrum reactors. Aiming at filling the economic gap with present generation systems, which in the meanwhile collected a considerable amount of operative experience which is reflected in their full economic maturity, the Lead Fast Reactor emerges as one of the most promising solutions.
In a Lead Fast Reactor, the pros of the fast spectrum in terms of sustainability, and the top-scoring safety features allowed by the inherent lead properties, are harmonized by simple innovative provisions which add for economics. This unique blend makes the Lead Fast Reactor one of the most promising systems for the future.