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Many nuclear reactors built in the future will be cooled using liquid sodium, but this very reactive metal must be carefully controlled to avoid leaks that can trigger fires.
The Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) system is one of planned nuclear reactor designs currently being researched. The SFR is a fast-neutron spectrum reactor that could be used to produce nuclear and electric energy as part of a new generation of systems from the year 2030. The SFR uses liquid sodium as a coolant. This metal, in liquid form, has very good properties from the point of view of fast reactor physics and as a coolant. However, it is a very reactive metal when mixed with oxygen and water, and it has the potential to pose a significant risk of fire if a leak occurs in the cooling system. As a result, the SFR system presents distinct challenges that the nuclear power industry needs to address as it develops this technology. This article examines these challenges, outlining current knowledge of liquid sodium (which is used as a cooling agent in some existing reactors), and past research and real-life accidents which highlight the safety issues.
31 Dicembre 2010
Collaborazioni internazionali e sviluppo competenze in materia nucleare (P03 GOV)