LFR’s high-temperature operation leads to a greatly improved (42-48%) thermodynamic efficiency relative to traditional nuclear technology (30-35%)
By virtue of liquid lead’s favorable properties (e.g., operation at atmospheric pressure, virtually no boiling concerns, lack of exothermic reactions), together with implementation of key design innovations (robust, microchannel-based heat exchangers), the amount of energy potentially releasable during any postulated accident involving contaminated release is significantly smaller than in a traditional nuclear plant and not in a pressure-releasing form. This allows for elimination of the high-pressure containment, which in traditional nuclear plants is a capital- and construction-intensive structure with many downstream layout impacts.
Approximately 50% of systems eliminated or reduced. Additionally, elimination of thick forgings and reduction in scale of typical major components (reactor coolant pumps, primary heat exchangers, etc.) support capital cost reduction.
LFR’s inherent safety attributes together with elegant and robust design solutions allow elimination of most safety-grade I&C.
Adoption of an integral configuration for the primary system, together with eliminated need for primary coolant replenishment, results in the elimination of Primary Piping & Safety-Injection Lines.
Plant design simplifications listed above, together with implementation of Westinghouse’s plant modularization approach based on technologies proven through the AP1000 projects, support reductions in construction schedule and thus financing costs.