Consortium established to build Alfred

20 December 2013

A consortium has been formally set up for the construction of a demonstration lead-cooled fast reactor in Romania. The Advanced Lead Fast Reactor European Demonstrator (Alfred) is being developed under an EU initiative.

ALFRED cutaway 250 (Ansaldo Nucleare)
A cutaway of the Alfred reactor
(Image: Ansaldo Nucleare)

A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between Italy's National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (ENEA) and Ansaldo Nucleare, as well as Romania's Nuclear Research Institute (Institutul de Cercetari Nucleare, ICN), to implement construction of Alfred. The signing ceremony in Bucharest was attended by Romanian energy minister Constantin Nita and representatives from the three partners organizations. 

The group is to be known as the Fostering Alfred Construction (Falcon) consortium, which will be expanded through the participation of further undisclosed European organizations which have been said to have already expressed their interest. Additional partners will be needed to raise the necessary resources to finalize the design and technology phase of the project. The consortium aims to obtain finance for the reactor through EU funds allocated to R&D infrastructure in new member states administered by the European Investment Bank. The total cost of the project is put at some €1.0 billion ($1.4 billion).

The demonstration Alfred unit will be built at ICN's facility in Mioveni, near Pitesti in southern Romania, where a fuel manufacturing plant is in operation for the country's two operating Candu reactors. Construction could begin in 2017 and the unit could start operating in 2025. It will supply 120 MWe to Romania's electrical grid.

Alfred is seen as a prelude to an industrial demonstration unit of about 600 MWe. The lead-cooled reactor will employ mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel and will operate at temperatures of around 550°C. It features passive safety systems.

The conceptual design of the Alfred reactor and the integrated project were led by Ansaldo Nucleare under the seventh Euratom framework program. ENEA performed the core design, the technological development and the safety analyses through numerical and experimental approaches.

The reactor is being developed through the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII), which brings together industry and research partners in the development of so-called Generation IV Fast Neutron Reactor technology, as part of the EU's Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan). ESNII was set up under the umbrella of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP), formed in 2007 and bringing together more than 90 stakeholders involved in nuclear fission.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News