20 Dec (NucNet): Italy’s Ansaldo Nucleare SPA and the Italian national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) have signed an agreement to build a new type of nuclear reactor at Romania’s Institute of Nuclear Research Pitești (RAAN SCN) under a project worth one billion euros (about 1.4 billion US dollars), ENEA has said.
The agreement will see the three organisations collaborate to build an experimental lead-cooled fast reactor to be known as Alfred, the Advanced Lead Fast Reactor European Demonstrator.
ENEA said the project aims at constructing a scaled-down 125-megawatt (300-megawatt thermal) next-generation reactor unit that will be more efficient and safer than models currently in commercial operation.
Ansaldo Nucleare, which is coordinating the project, said lead-cooled reactors have many advantages over units using other coolants. Lead does not react with air, it has a very high boiling point of 1,745 degrees Celsius and it has a higher density than oxide fuel, which means there is no need for a core catcher.
For the next phase of development and construction, the consortium will apply for funding from the European Investment Bank and also from infrastructure funds – so-called cohesion funds – from Europe. Cohesion funds are available to Romania in its capacity as a new member of the EU, ENEA said.
Details of the proposed Alfred reactor are online: