Considerations for Commercializing the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor
EMD-77-5: Published: Nov 29, 1976. Publicly Released: Nov 29, 1976.
- Full Report:
The liquid metal fast breeder reactor (LMFBR) is regarded as an essentially inexhaustible source of energy. A July 1975 Report by GAO and a subsequent statement by the Administrator of the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) concurred in the opinion that the LMFBR program is still in a research stage, and that in the mid-1980's, a determination could be made about the acceptability of widespread commercial deployment of LMFBRs. The current status of the LMFBR program is reported, along with a discussion of the technical, financial, scheduling, and institutional factors which must be adequately resolved for successful commercialization.
Successful commercialization of the LMFBR will require not only the development of reactor technology but the supporting technologies of fuel fabrication, plutonium reprocessing, and radioactive waste disposal. The year 1990 may be the earliest by which licensibility and routine performance can be demonstrated for all four required technologies. GAO, in a conservative estimate, feels it is most likely that four to six commercial-size LMFBRs could be in operation by the year 2000 if a decision is made in the mid- to late-1980s to commercialize the LMFBR. Estimated total capital costs would be about $150 billion, measured in 1974 dollars.