Generation IV nuclear reactors

Generation IV nuclear reactors are innovative nuclear reactors expected to facilitate nuclear power to meet the energy needs of society in the future. In addition to meeting the energy need, this generation of reactors is designed to fulfill the concept of sustainable development.

The concept of Generation IV nuclear reactors was developed by the Generation IV International Forum, originally consisting of 9 countries. Over 100 experts evaluated around 130 reactor concepts, until just 6 were decided upon and determined as the Generation IV reactors.[1] These reactors are planned to be deployed sometime in the 2030s.[2]

Figure 1. The Gen-IV reactors are being researched and developed by many countries with clear goals in mind. Countries with active participation include Canada, USA, China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, and the EU. Non-active members include Brazil, Argentina and United Kingdoms.[1][3][4]

Generation IV International Forum (GIF)

Generation IV international forum is an international co-operation framework recognized for the improvement of Generation IV systems. The concept of Generation IV reactors was launched in the United States in 2000 and the forum was established in 2001. The members of Gen IV forum consist of twelve countries and the EU, with detail in Figure 1 above.[3]

Goals of development

In designing and pursuing the reactors of the future, GIF has centered their goals around four broad areas:[5]

  • Sustainability - Providing sustainable energy that meets clean air objectives, gives long-term availability of systems and effective fuel utilization for worldwide energy production. Also to minimize and manage waste, thereby improving protection for the public and the environment.
  • Economics - Reactors will have a clear life cycle cost-advantage over other energy sources, along with less financial risk due to increased reliability.
  • Safety - The reactors will excel in safety and reliability; there will be very low likelihood of core damage, along with minimized severity in the case of an accident. Emergency response systems will be optimized and will not require offsite emergency response.
  • Proliferation Resistance - The reactor's use and processing of nuclear fuel will increase the assurance of materials being unattractive for theft and terrorism, along with a physical protection system to prevent the fuel from ending up in the wrong hands.

For further reading

The 6 reactors determined by GIF to be the reactors of the future have clear advantages and technological advancements compared to reactors in use today, along with meeting the goals listed above. Most of the 6 systems employ a closed fuel cycle, meaning there will be less waste produced and more reused fuel. Their temperatures will be considerably higher than those in current use, allowing for higher efficiency of heat transfer and improved fuel use.[6] The reactors can be explored in detail on their respective pages, and are as follows:[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Generation IV International Forum. (June 30 2015). Generation IV Systems [Online], Available: https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_59461/generation-iv-systems
  2. Generation IV International Forum. (July 2 2015). Main Page [Online], Available: https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_9260/Public
  3. 3.0 3.1 Generation IV International Forum. (June 30 2015). GIF Membership [Online], Available: https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_59461/generation-iv-systems
  4. Flag Images from Wikimedia Commons
  5. Generation IV International Forum. (June 30 2015). Generation IV Goals [Online], Available: https://www.gen-4.org/gif/jcms/c_9502/generation-iv-goals
  6. World Nuclear Association. (July 2 2015). Generation IV Nuclear Reactors [Online], Available: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Generation-IV-Nuclear-Reactors/

Authors and Editors

Bethel Afework, Jordan Hanania, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev
Last updated: September 3, 2018
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