Excerpt from the World Nuclear Association Website on Small and Medium Reactors
Liquid metal-cooled fast neutron reactors
Fast neutron reactors are designed to use the full energy potential of uranium, rather than about one percent of it that conventional power reactors use. They have no moderator, a higher neutron flux and are normally cooled by liquid metal such as sodium, lead, or lead-bismuth, with high conductivity and boiling point. They operate at or near atmospheric pressure and have passive safety features (most have convection circulating the primary coolant). Automatic power regulation is achieved due to the reactivity feedback – loss of coolant flow leads to higher core temperature which slows the reaction. Fast reactors typically use boron carbide control rods.
The following international reactor projects are utilizing liquid metal reactor (LMR) technology:
- Super-Safe, Small, and Simple (4S), Japan
- SVBR, Russia
- BREST-300, Russia