Low-power modular lead-cooled nuclear reactor

Vitaly Uzikov, Lead Ingeeneer, JSC “SSC RIAR” (Russian Federation)
Irina Uzikova, Nuclear Safety Engineer, Assystem E&OS (France)

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One of the main directions of modern development of nuclear energy is the creation of small modular reactors. Small modular reactors installed in single or multi-unit power plants make it possible to combine nuclear and alternative energy sources, including renewable sources.
However, the problem of optimal choice of the type of coolant for such reactors remains unresolved. Despite the seemingly obvious choice, the use of water as a coolant carries significant risks of a heat transfer crisis in the core in emergency situations, and the possibility of an exothermic zirconium vapor reaction has led to catastrophic consequences at the Fukushima-Daiichi NPP [1]. The use of gas, organic heat transfer fluids or salts causes no less problems and risks. Liquid metal coolant – liquid sodium requires special care in handling it due to its fire and explosion hazard, and the use of a lead-bismuth coolant leads to the formation of a large amount of hazardous radioactive polonium-210, which, in case of accidents with depressurization, can escape into the environment and lead to serious radiation consequences in the adjacent territories. Therefore, perhaps the most acceptable coolant option for small-sized modular reactors may be ordinary lead.
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4 comments to Low-power modular lead-cooled nuclear reactor

  • Andrea Rossi

    He,he,he…very funny.
    Warm Regards,

  • Sam

    Hello DR Rossi

    If you are looking for a
    High Energy Drummer
    to start off the Presentation.



  • Hello Eng. Alan Folmsbee
    Thanks for the interesting question. Like sodium reactors, all pipelines and primary circuit equipment are equipped with electric heaters and thermal insulation, which allows draining and filling the circuit with lead during the core refueling period. In the event of an emergency situation with depressurization in pipelines or in a steam generator, the same procedure for draining lead from the pipelines is performed and the defect is eliminated. After that, the first cooling circuit is again filled with lead and the operation of the reactor plant is resumed. In the case itself, by regulating the heat removal from it, the necessary thermal regime is maintained to keep the lead in a molten state. The power of the residual energy release in the core at the level of 1..2 MW is quite enough for this even without the use of electric heating.
    Best regards,
    Irina and Vitaly Uzikov

  • Hello Doctors Uzikov and Uzikova,
    I read your paper and I did not see words about the cold lead
    freezing in the pipes during a time of trouble. Can the liquid
    state be restored to the metallic lead from a frozen start?
    Alan Folmsbee, Electrical Engineer

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