To improve the public acceptance of nuclear power and secure its future role in Europe, the significantly higher safety of new reactors compared to traditional reactors has to be demonstrated. The 4-year ESFR-SMART project (European Sodium Fast Reactor Safety Measures Assessment and Research Tools), launched in September 2017 aims to enhance the safety of Generation-IV Sodium Fast Reactors (SFR), in particular the commercial-size European Sodium Fast Reactor (ESFR).
The projects aims to achieve 5 specific objectives.
The project will take the large-power (1500 MWe / 3600 MWt) sodium cooled fast reactor concept a step further, using the outputs of the SPX2, EFR and CP-ESFR projects and using the Generation-IV International Forum objectives as a target.
Compared to the traditional LWRs and SFRs, the new reactor should be able to reprocess its own and legacy waste, exclude fuel enrichment, be more reliable in operation, more environmentally-friendly, more affordable, and better protected against proliferation. Last but not least: the new reactor should be safer than traditional LWRs and SFRs. The implementation of this new safety level in the ESFR reactor concept is one of the main challenges that will tackled in the project.
ESNII, the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative of SNETP, gives Fast Neutron Reactors (FNR) a high priority for the production of sustainable nuclear energy in Europe. Taking into account the significant European and international operational experience, the ESNII roadmap identified the Sodium Fast Reactor as the most mature technology to be implemented and considers the Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration (ASTRID) to be an SFR prototype. ASTRID is the Generation-IV system that is being developed in France as part of European and international industrial and R&D cooperation programmes, including ASTRID Research and Development Cooperation (ARDECo). Two alternative FNR technologies to be explored in the longer term are the Lead cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) and the Gas cooled Fast Reactor (GFR).
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