Liquid Sodium Fast Reactors

Liquid metal cooled reactors, such as the sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) or the TerraPower traveling wave reactor can be designed to work safely and effectively, however, historically they have suffered from non-competitive economics as compared to light water reactors. Advances in technology, modern manufacturing techniques, and the availability of materials and components can make the technology economical.

These advances will improve the economics of advanced fast reactors through reductions in welding, quality assurance, fabrication costs and design simplifications. Additionally, a successful program is dependent on a continued qualified future generation of technical staff that is familiar with the past designs and is capable of developing advanced technology to enhance components compared to those used 50 years ago during the US sodium reactor programs.

This project proposes to focus on four key areas of sodium technology development:

  1. Sodium pumps and flow meters
  2. Oxygen sensors for coolant chemistry control
  3. Environmental response of newer high-strength materials to sodium exposure
  4. Environmental response of modern diffusion bonding to sodium exposure for printed circuit heat exchanger (PCHE) development.