Fast breader reactors

Fast breeder reactors (FBRs) are a type of nuclear reactor that uses fast neutrons to generate more fuel than they consume. They are called “breeder” reactors because they “breed” more fuel than they use. The most common type of FBRs are liquid metal cooled fast breeder reactors (LMFBRs)

In these reactors, fast neutrons are used to convert fertile isotopes such as U-238 into fissile isotopes such as Pu-239. This process is known as “breeding” and it allows these reactors to produce more fuel than they consume.

FBRs have several advantages over traditional nuclear reactors, including the ability to use non-fissile isotopes as fuel, which are more abundant and cheaper than fissile isotopes. Additionally, FBRs can reduce the amount of nuclear waste produced by traditional reactors.

In India, the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu is the only operational fast breeder test reactor. The government has also announced plans to build a 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam.

However, the development and deployment of FBRs is a complex and challenging task, and it is still in the R&D phase. The technology is considered to be challenging and there are still many technical and economic challenges to be overcome before it can be deployed at a larger scale.

Approach of USA on Fast Breeder reactors

The United States has a long history of research and development in fast breeder reactors (FBRs), but it has not built or operated a commercial-scale FBR.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. government invested heavily in the development of FBRs as a way to produce more fuel than they consumed and reduce the amount of nuclear waste produced by traditional reactors. However, by the 1970s, the U.S. government’s focus shifted away from FBRs due to the abundance of low-cost fossil fuels and concerns about the safety and cost of FBRs.

The United States has several experimental FBRs, including the Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I), which operated from 1951 to 1964, and the Clinch River Breeder Reactor, which was under construction but never operated.

In recent years, there has been renewed interest in FBRs in the U.S., particularly in the context of developing advanced nuclear technologies that can reduce the amount of nuclear waste produced by traditional reactors and help to address the challenge of climate change.

However, FBRs are still considered to be a developing technology and it will take a significant investment in research and development to overcome the remaining technical and economic challenges before they can be deployed at a commercial scale in the USA.

Approach of UK on Fast Breeder Reactors

The United Kingdom has a long history of research and development in fast breeder reactors (FBRs), but it has not built or operated a commercial-scale FBR.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the UK government invested heavily in the development of FBRs, with the goal of producing more fuel than they consumed and reducing the amount of nuclear waste produced by traditional reactors. The UK built several experimental FBRs, including the Dounreay Fast Reactor and the Prototype Fast Reactor, which operated from 1959 to 1977.

However, by the 1970s, the UK government’s focus shifted away from FBRs due to concerns about the high cost and technical challenges of the technology.

In recent years, there has been renewed interest in FBRs in the UK, particularly in the context of developing advanced nuclear technologies that can reduce the amount of nuclear waste produced by traditional reactors and help to address the challenge of climate change.

The UK government has announced plans to invest in the development of FBRs through the Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) program, which aims to develop small modular reactors (SMRs) that can be used for electricity generation, process heat, and hydrogen production.

However, FBRs are still considered to be a developing technology and it will take a significant investment in research and development to overcome the remaining technical and economic challenges before they can be deployed at a commercial scale in the UK.

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