Advanced Technology

The benefits of using lead as a coolant, combined with design innovation create the next generation energy source

Westinghouse selected LFR as its next-generation utility-scale nuclear power plant following a cross-comparison of all known nuclear technologies and based on criteria supporting global commercialization, including safety, economics, market versatility, fuel cycle sustainability, technology readiness, siting, and more. The Westinghouse LFR combines the inherent favorable characteristics of LFR technology with design solutions stemming from Westinghouse’s 70+ years of experience in nuclear power plants’ design, licensing and commercialization. In doing so it achieves the following important objectives for its customers:

  • Plant simplification and reduction, through design, of both cost and risks in construction, leveraging intrinsic characteristics of lead-cooled reactors and Westinghouse’s lessons learned in plant design, licensing and commercialization
  • High thermal efficiency which, coupled with simplified design, delivers competitive economics
  • “Walk-away safety” is achieved while eliminating the necessity of unique structures that in traditional plants are required to ensure safety
  • Non-reactor-based load follows to complement renewables
  • Capability for non-electricity applications such as cogeneration, hydrogen production, and seawater desalination, based on customers’ needs
  • Flexibility to accommodate both open and closed fuel cycles, with ensuing capability to significantly reduce nuclear fuel waste volume per unit of electricity generated, relative to traditional nuclear technology
  • Enhanced siting opportunities enabled by use of air-cooled condensers, eliminating the need for large water bodies in the vicinity of the plant with little to no performance penalty

LFR Advanced Technology

The Westinghouse LFR is a highly-simplified Generation IV nuclear plant with unparalleled compactness, intrinsic safety characteristics, and the capability to provide up to 600 MWe of peak output to grid. Starting from a scalable design architecture, the LFR’s baseload output has been economically optimized at a net power output of approximately 450 MWe, with a nearer-term lower-power reactor solution to demonstrate the technology while addressing specific lower-power market needs.

LFR cutaway

Distinguishing features of the Westinghouse LFR include:

  • Modularization and construction design based on the experience from delivering multiple AP1000 reactor projects
  • Elimination of a traditional, high-pressure containment
  • Indefinite decay heat removal achieved through a simple and robust system without the need for actuation, operator intervention, I&C signals, or moving parts
  • Innovative heat exchangers enabling an ultra-compact vessel and eliminating large pressurization sources in the contained area
  • Elimination of safety-grade I&C systems

More information on the Westinghouse LFR can be found here.