Westinghouse plans to collaborate with US DOE on lead-cooled fast reactor for nuclear power

Westinghouse Electric Company is planning to collaborate with the US Department of Energy (DOE) on the lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR), whcih is intended to achieve new levels of energy affordability, safety and flexibility.

Westinghouse submitted its project proposal for the DOE’s upcoming investment in advanced reactor concepts that can be demonstrated in the 2035 timeframe. The Westinghouse-led project team includes members of the national laboratory system, universities and the private sector with expertise in areas essential to the design and commercialization of an advanced LFR plant. The team will evolve Generation IV reactor technology and power it with innovative Westinghouse fuel to create a Generation V plant that is competitive in even the most challenging economic environment.

“Nuclear energy is a critical part of today’s energy mix, and will play an even larger role in the future to satisfy global demand for energy that is clean, safe, reliable and economical,” said Westinghouse President and CEO Danny Roderick. “Westinghouse’s vision is to be the first to innovate the next technology, and we believe an LFR plant will be the next advanced reactor technology to be deployed. Westinghouse and our partners have the experience and technical capability to bring it to market.”

The next generation of nuclear power plants must be able to compete with the lowest-cost electricity production technologies, while also achieving unparalleled safety and performance. The Westinghouse LFR will be based on innovative features such as the company’s latest advanced fuel that delivers the superior performance of what the industry characterizes as accident-tolerant. The use of lead as a coolant will further enhance reactor safety, and optimize the plant’s economic value through lower construction costs and higher operating efficiency than other technologies.

Beyond electricity generation, the Westinghouse LFR applications would include hydrogen production and water desalination. Additionally, the plant’s load-following capabilities would further support the increased use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.