A Path Forward for the LMFBR

In the mid to later part of the 20th Century, the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor was envisioned by many as the technology that could supply all the nation’s energy needs for the foreseeable future – thousands of years if necessary. The Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor failed in the United States in 1983 because it was considered too expensive. This perception was based on the preliminary design of a demonstration plant, the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Plant that was then in the latter stage of construction permit licensing. The purpose of this monograph is to describe how that happened and to propose a different method that could lead to a more favorable outcome. The design and institutional approach in this paper is one of many that could be devised. It is not intended to be a blueprint. It is only intended to show that it is possible to capitalize on the inherent features of liquid metal and breeder reactor technology in such a way that economic outcomes are achievable. There are undoubtedly many other such approaches.

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