Swedish Small Nuclear Reactor Funded

SEALER (Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor) is a passively safe lead-cooled reactor designed for commercial power production in a highly compact format. Its fuel is never replaced during operation, which minimizes costs related to fuel management. The integrity of steel surfaces exposed to liquid lead is ensured by use of alumina forming alloys, containing 3-4 wt% aluminium.

The future cost for purchasing a SEALER-Arctic unit is estimated at CAD 100 M. The owner’s cost of a factory assembled SEALER-55 unit (as part of a multi-unit plant) is estimated at € 200 M. These values include the cost of the fuel.

For Arctic applications, the fuel is 2.4 tons of 19.9% enriched uranium oxide, and the rate of electricity production may vary between 3 to 10 MW, leading to a core-life between 10 and 30 years (at 90% availability).

For on-grid applications, the fuel is 21 tons of 12% enriched uranium nitride and the rated power is 55 MWe, leading to an equivalent full power core-life of 25 years.

The Swedish Energy Agency has now awarded the partners SEK99 million to put towards building an electrically powered non-nuclear prototype SEALER at Oskarshamn for testing and verifying materials and technology in an environment of molten lead at high temperatures. The 1:56 scale prototype will be operated for five years starting in 2024.

An academic network based at KTH is connected to the project. The Sunrise (Sustainable Nuclear Research In Sweden) project – whose partners include KTH, Luleå University and Uppsala University – has already received SEK50 million (USD6 million) in funding.

Lead coolant
The most important advantage of using liquid lead as coolant for a nuclear reactor is that it allows designing the reactor in a highly compact format, with an outstanding set of safety features, including:

• No violent exothermic reaction with water
• A very high boiling temperature, reducing the risk for loss of coolant
• An excellent potential for decay heat removal by natural convection
• Chemical retention of iodine and caesium, should a fuel failure occur
• Inherent shielding of gamma radiation from fission products

Lead Crystal Glass

Moreover, the use of lead as coolant results in a so called “fast” neutron spectrum, which facilitates production of fissile fuel from U-238 with a conversion ratio larger than unity. Hence, fuel resources increase by two orders of magnitude, making nuclear power sustainable for thousands of years. Moreover, the fast neutron spectrum makes it possible to efficiently transmute the long-lived waste, such as americium and curium, into stable or short-lived fission products, with a minimum of negative side-effects on the safety of reactor and fuel-cycle facilities.

Break-through innovation
A major disadvantage of using lead coolants is the risk for corrosion attack on fuel cladding and steam generator tubes. The high solubility of nickel in lead makes it necessary to form and maintain a protective oxide film on the surfaces of structural materials. However, chromium oxide scales forming on conventional stainless steels grow too thick after a year of full-power operation in a lead-cooled reactor, making them mechanically unstable. Silicon or aluminium alloyed steels form thinner films of silicon and aluminium oxides, respectively, rendering the steels corrosion proof over longer exposure times. In Russia, a silicon alloyed steel has been developed for use in the SVBR-100 and BEST-300 reactors, whereas in Germany, a technique for surface alloying of steels with FeCrAlY has allowed to improve corrosion and fretting performance significantly.

In collaboration with Swedish steel industry, LeadCold materials experts have developed an aluminium alloyed steel (Fe-10Cr-4Al-RE) which exhibits perfect corrosion resistance during exposure to lead for more than two years at T = 550°C, and for more than 10 weeks at 850°C. The addition of reactive elements (RE) reduces the risk for formation of chromium carbides that may be detrimental for corrosion resistance, and allows to keep the aluminium concentration at a level low enough to ensure weldability of the material. Based on this break-through innovation, LeadCold has designed the SEALER reactor for commercial power production.

Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

71 thoughts on “Swedish Small Nuclear Reactor Funded”

  1. Does no good,we have a greta in the WH. Biden asked Putin what sanctions he would prefer, and putin gave him the list.

  2. If solar and wind are capable of producing reliable energy they would have already used it, but now they are vulnerable as they can't go a day without coal gas and oil from Russia.
    Biden said he'd sanction but he doesn't sanction Russian oil gas or coal so it is just as if it was putin telling Biden, what is acceptable.

  3. Yes,Sweden isn't free they have to do what Putin wants as relayed by Greta,so they have to close nuclear and use more gas,thes gos straight into Putins pocket, he needs the Arctic melted and more money from docile Europeans.
    Why should we protect these people when they don't fight in Ukraine?
    The Finns have the right approach with buying F-35's

  4. I'm making 210 D0IIars an hour w0rking from h0me. I was sh0cked when my friend told me that she was maklng D0Ilars 17372/m just from her h0me 0nLlne. Then this completely changed my Llfe. F0r Details………………… See my Name for WebSlte

  5. They could send energy around to each other and get the same effect. The variability of both load and (perhaps not for SPS) source will never be completely overcome, but being able to switch resources is a big help. In fact, I'm seeing power beaming as much more important than just a way to collect energy from Space. It can balance ALL the energy resources, starting very soonly.

    The reflectarray tech is very cool. First glance, looks like they create a flat physical diffraction grating to *focus* a nearby horn signal that need not be on center. Then, they can electronically change how it reflects to aim signals, with little power out in the array. For LSP or Earth to Earth, seems to me that the *horn* would be the incoming beam, from far away so it needs no initial focus. Then, the reflections send it on its various ways, 98% efficient. Perhaps. Will it take multiple incoming beams? Way over my head.

  6. Until recently, that would be counted against LSP as an extra cost. Now, the switching of the beams is seen a bigger advantage. Even the GEO people are starting to tout the ability to feed multiple loads, altho still in the direct line. Now, the redirectors are the key to harvesting Earth Peak Intermittent Power, and ending the scourge of curtailment. The *reference* LSP has the 2nd type of redirectors, rectennae feeding transmitters. This is about 20% loss, so only want to do it one time, but certainly worth it. LSP represents a reference for Earth to Earth, as the only difference would be the location of the radar. And the source of the power, which is a separate thing. When I say that E to E needs cheap PIP to work, that is in comparison to going ahead with Space Solar. Compared to curtailment, for now, it seems hard to do worse. So, start with a mirror in orbit, existing radar and sensors in a field to prove focus. Build rectenna and orbit type 2 redirector, power with small radars as the redirector is big, for LSP dual use. Or not big, if want more baby steps. This leads directly to Space Solar!

  7. Yep. It is incorrect. Criswell does transmissions. Wires conduct, altho coax/CAT etc is a middle ground. For example, I call it the "South Texas Nuclear Project" even tho the name has been changed to the "South Texas Project". I am the one who is correct. Similarly, the nuke sales people recently started giving energy per year instead of the usu power, as it gives a bigger number. Confuse the buyer. I'm used to being right.

  8. Once the reactor is running, you've got an internal heat source even if you shut it down. Avoiding the lead solidifying is just a matter of making sure heat extraction is in the right range. That can even be done passively.

    And avoiding sloshing is pretty straightforward, too.

  9. Or, long distance connections to a wide variety of unstable, inconsistent sources one can continuously reconfigure to deliver power where and when needed from where and when it exists. Check my cites below.

  10. Yes, if you think that is bad, LSP itself goes back to 1984. Earth to Earth Power Beaming is a recent addition to a hack to get power to the back of the Earth, from the Moon. LSP would do fine without it altogether. Perhaps even without the lunar energy redirectors. So to blame the delay in LSP on later good ideas makes no sense. "maybe some larger scale tests should be tried first ?" as I have been demanding for over 30 years for LSP. I've had radios that work all my life, but people can't seem to understand. It is the same! "W. Brown’s 1975 Goldstone demonstration [22] remains the highest-power result to date, delivering 35 kW at 1.55 km." -IEEE below. I'll mark you down as supporting tests, like the military is doing. Also, keep in mind in testing that Earth to Earth and LSP *should* use the same rectennae and redirectors, so the only difference is where the source radar is, Space, Moon or Earth surface. Very little difference, one serves as proof of other. The key for Earth to Earth is the Peak Intermittent Power being at least as good/cheap as Space collected. As you say, it is for now because of decades of delays in SSP. Eventually, the radars too will be cheaper ISMRU.



  11. Wind + solar + batteries is already failing in cutting emissions, keeping the lights on, and replacing gas and coal. The renewables dinosaur is still plunging forward, but its forebrain is already dead.

  12. Ways in which Lead is a wonderful coolant:

    Atmospheric pressure up to very high temperatures
    Neutron reflector, keeps neutrons in the reactor
    Fast neutron reactor, can burn long lived actinides so waste is radioactive for less time
    Superior thermal radiation compared to Sodium or molten salts
    Will absorb radioactive Iodine and Cesium if fuel leaks
    Inert, does not react with water
    Absorbs all gamma radiation

  13. Lead cooling is great in every way except for two:

    If the temp drops then the lead solidifies and makes restarting difficult.
    Earthquakes and sloshing of tons and tons of molten lead.

  14. Yes we are blaming Greta. Thank you for reminding me that my grandfather made the right decision to emigrate from Sweden to the USA.

  15. In my opinion geothermal energy is undervalued and has good potential. Less danger so you can sell it to the greenies. They are consistent energy sources, can operate +- 90 -98 percent of the time. Of course there are always nay sayers who will try to find a flaw in everything and focus only on the flaws, but newertheless I think the potential is good. Costs are not so big and it is a steady source. Experiences from oil wells and drilling can be leveraged and used,.. Compared to nuclear and some huge costs delays of some plants that can be done faster and cheaper. If you can do it 2-5 million per Mw, 1000 MW for 4 billion it is ok. The initial costs are large, but then it is cheaper to operate and they are consistent. Of course because earthquake danger you spread it and it is still acceptable.

  16. Like it is so sunny in Sweden? Look energy grid needs stable, consistent energy sources and batteries won't fix everything.

  17. Jepp, right you are.

    Sweden is every bit as difficult as Germany when it comes to giving permission to new industry in general. It's because part of the social democrats are just greenies that join the cause with the "green party" to make laws and rules as to make it impossible to start new industrial projects.

    The social democrats pretend that they are "forced" to agree to these laws and regulations, but in reality they are happy to "feed" their green branch of the party so that they do not jump ship.

    And then the "civil servants" that interpret the rules are green activists through and through. It's a really vicious circle…

    The social democrats of old hated rich individuals, but had nothing against industry par se. Now they hate rich individuals – unless they are politicians – *and* they hate industry in general as well.

  18. That's not a funded small nuclear reactor.
    It's a very large electrical heater.

    Here in Sweden, we used to have 12 reactors of Swedish design. Now 6 left because the communists tax nuclear to death and shut them down prematurely like in Germany. They can't even build transmission lines from the north where the hydro power is abundant to the south where there is a shortage and extreme prices due to the export to Germany and Denmark.

    I think they have been planning the transmission lines for over a decade without nothing to show. As a result, there can be no more deployments of companies, housing and even trains in the south of Sweden. Electrical cars have been more expensive to fill up than fossil cars some periods this winter. (and Sweden has the highest diesel price on the planet).
    Massive fail for everyone and everything.

  19. Well… That would come at a cost of course. More nature consumed by wind mills. Costal areas no longer pristine, but full of wind mills. Beautiful mountain ranges visually cluttered by sweeping propellers..

    My long term hope is that floating wind power will be just as cheap as land based dito, so that you can place an inordinate amount of wind power out of sight, some 50 km off shore.

    And the transmission losses from Sweden to Germany will be considerate, of course, unless they install HVDC transmission lines. Preferably buried transmission lines….

  20. That's going to be a hard sell. The powers that be – social democrats and greenies – stopped that line of development decades ago with conventional nuclear power. It would make us to dependent upon nuclear, was the saying. Would have been a great deal, though.

    I believe the political "train" for that option has left the station long ago…

  21. Well, during winter, you will have very little photovoltaic electricity. But what electricity you have – from any source – can be fed into heat pumps that typically have COP-values of about 4.5.

    I don't think there is a system that can collect the solar energy that is not converted to electricity in a photovoltaic cell. I.e. you cannot get ~20% efficiency towards electricity + 80% efficiency towards collecting heat. As far as I know.

  22. Ah, silly, delusional Greta and her ilk.
    Utterly convinced that the world can be Green, Poor, and Happy. The Eloi of the 21st century.
    Green being defined as having the same 'stats' as Pre-Industrial temperate earth, in regards to CO2, metals, anthropomorphic footprint, level of resource extraction, wild lands…
    Poor being defined as having enough for food, shelter, and community, but not extravagances such as personal vehicles, non-local travel, world projects on non-essential exploration, tech, and discovery…
    Happy being defined as being 'just glad to be alive', 'being surrounded by whatever neighbors and families you're struck with', and 'being utterly without any stress, ambition, or goals' that may lead to anxiety or selfish-non-community coveteousness.
    Like a 12-year old born on a kibbutz, completely without an understanding of real human drives and foibles; checks and balances of a community; and the imperatives of productivity and creativity. How she can continue with this unenlightened naivete and bubbleheaded simpleness is truly quite remarkable.

  23. Pure lead which means a higher melting point and difficulty if the reactor coolant solidifies.

    But lead really doesn't transmute in the presence of neutrons and no Bismuth means no Polonium creation so the coolant isn't really radioactive.

  24. You should take advantage of the Germans being absolutely crazy about energy policy and overbuild so you can provide them with energy.

    In the winter send your electricity to them and keep the heat to warm buildings.

  25. How much does it cost to make heat during a Swedish winter time from photovoltaic electricity?

    In Sweden (much like on Mars) waste heat is a valuable commodity.

  26. During the Swedish summertime, sure. During the winter time it makes cheap, endless carbon free heat for district heating.

  27. You can even do things in parallel. Test the alloy for the duration of reactor development. You can even keep testing the alloy while the first reactors are running so that you have a ten year advance notice of how it behaves.

    While we are at it you can even keep testing the alloy after the first reactor is decommissioned to get an idea of how it performs. There's no rule that we must sit on our hands and do everything in baby steps.

  28. Actually seems interesting as far as reactors go. One so far overlooked benefit would be using the ~60MWth for district heating during the Swedish winters.

    How exactly one replaces a sealed reactor full of lead is a mystery of the universe. You don't just swap them in and out like a set of batteries.

  29. What we should be concerned with is "cost", not "price"; Price is easily manipulated by the regulatory environment.

    And the cost estimates have been predicated on lifetimes for the equipment which were so optimistic they may eventually be actionable as fraud.

  30. No, I think they have an alloy that's been proven to resist lead for two years, and think that justifies tests to prove it lasts longer.

    You know, you can actually test these things for two years, and have some idea how they'll behave over 30. Because if the alloy is unchanged after two years, why would the next two years turn out differently? And there IS such a thing as accelerated lifecycle testing; You think the tests to prove your car won't rust out in a decade take a decade to perform?

  31. Well, I can't really say if Tony Seba is serious or not, but his method for estimating the cost seems reasonable. He took real wind power data from two different states and looked how much it dipped/peaked from the average production.

    From that he estimated how much battery capacity would be needed even out the electricity production. Presumably, he would then use actual numbers from battery systems and actual project costs of solar and wind installations in the USA to come up with a final cost of a combination of battery and wind, or battery and solar.

    Presumably, he would use actual cost decline data to estimate the cost decline per cumulative doubling in installation capacity.

    It would seem that Ark pretty much concurs with his general estimate of the cost decline. And we know that Tesla's Megapacks are sold out for the next two years, so the demand at the current price point seems to be large.

    All of these factors indicate that Tony Seba is correct in his assessments.

  32. We have had a terrible winter. About 20% of the electricity produced in Sweden – more than 90% hydro power and nuclear power – has been exported to Germany.

    This has pushed the spot price of electricity up to about 55 cents (including VAT and "transport" fee) per kWh. Our electricity bill was about 3 times the normal in December.

    So I no big fan of the integration. All it did was to enable "government corporations" to make "profits". So instead of having cheap electricity with tax funded infrastructure, we got expensive electricity and "profits" in the "government corporations" that was funded by taxes, part of which is then payed back to the government in the shape of "profits". One thing for sure, the billions of higher electricity bill does not result in billions of extra revenue to the government, so it's a net loss for Sweden.

    Maybe in the future, the integration could result in something positive from our perspective. Time will tell.

  33. Thanx for "type specimen", had never heard it. See my patent ref above. 98% efficiency redirector. Seals the deal. edit "curtailment" same. "Operator-induced curtailment typically occurs because of transmission congestion or lack of transmission access" PIP, Peak Intermittent Power. free for the beaming!


  34. Tony Seba is the type specimen for irrational exuberance. Wind and solar prices are already climbing, with inflation and material constraints. You think that anyone will keep building masses of both, even as the curtailment rate during windy, sunny periods climbs asymptotically towards 100%, until they can cover calm winter weeks ? As for energy storage, uranium beats any battery, hydrogen, or pumped hydro, hands down. A few cubic metres of core hold several gigawatt/years, more than all the grid batteries ever built.

  35. "Unfortunately", indeed; You'd think that after the last year or two people would be finally figuring out that wringing out the last percent of efficiency by interconnecting everything on as large a scale as possible is stupid. All it does is enable larger scale failures.

  36. So they want to use for 30 years an alloy what resist to lead for two years. Sounds very convincing…oh wait!

  37. And then there is the cost decline for wind and solar. According to Tony Seba, its 23% and 46% for each cumulative doubling of installed capacity respectively. Eventually, it will be much cheaper to just install so much of both that there is sufficient even at a "dip" in production. The really short term fluctuations will be covered by batteries.

    You could furthermore import all electricity in the summer as to keep the water dams full for winter usage.

  38. You're preaching modularity to the IKEA country? The nuke resource provided has little with lead coolant. Seems gimmicky.

  39. Nope, the BYD blade battery – iron phosphate – allegedly costs 64 USD /kWh, and it is optimized for cooling and safety in a vehicle. Without those restraints, the battery would probably be even cheaper per kWh. The blade battery is about 10 mm thick; hardly the cheapest form factor (lots of "wall" per volume of battery).

    According to Ark invest, lithium batteries drop about 10% for every cumulative doubling. For 2025, there is more than 2 TWh per year of announced capacity ..! Compare that to 2021 which was about 300 GWh.. Thats about 3 doublings… Say another 30% price drop from 65 USD? To approximately 45 USD per kWh?

    Elon furthermore estimates the total battery production at 2030 to 20 TWh per year, so that would be something like… 30 USD per kWh? At that price point, and 3500 cycles, every kWh battery cycle would cost about 1 cent.

  40. Well, there is also wind even if that is also reduced during the winter. Furthermore, Sweden is – unfortunately – integrated with the European grid. So if there is cheap electricity from the south, then the new nuclear reactor will have a hard time. Then there is the water power, which gives just as much power during winter as in summer as well as some aging nuclear power plants.

    When you discount all that, there is only "scraps" left for this future reactor to contend for. And in the summer it will be wildly unprofitable…

    It may have been a good idea 40 years ago, but now… If wind+solar+batteries would fail miserably, then it may still have a chance. I don't see that happening though…

  41. Jan, maybe 'battery' is something that'll mature to the point of affordability per KILOWATT HOUR.  Dunno … right now it remains stubbornly high, even considering a 2000 kWh per kWh (i.e. over 2000 cycle charges) of battery life. There is some evidence that modern LiFePO batteries have 'useful' lives exceeding 3,500 kWh/kWh.  Whatever. The wholesale manufacturing cost also remains rather stubbornly above $70 per kWh on a gigawatt basis. 

    $70 ÷ 2000 = 3.5 ¢/kWh for storage.  This is for naked batteries, sitting in a parking lot in cardboard packing boxes.  Not … installed in a metro-scale grid connected battery-and-inverters-and-safety-and-operations-and-insurance-and-mortgage-and-investor-profit basis. Figure much closer to 20 ¢/kWh.  

    That's to get the kilowatt hours in, and eventually out, of the grid-scale battery.  

    The Swedes I've heard have a corner on the wind-power angle. LOTS of wind up there in the high north. But sunlight … as Brett notes, is hugely seasonal. Ridiculous amounts in Summer, and ridiculously low-to-none in Winter. Not a great plan. Might have a bit of it, but really, one has to plan for the whole year. 

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  42. Apology accepted ,but you didn't have to follow her advice, she gets very upset when people make clean energy":How dare you!!"

  43. Eh, I don't think solar has all that much appeal in Sweden. Or I wouldn't expect it to, anyway. Isn't about half the country totally dark in the winter?

  44. OK, so a non-nuclear prototype will be operated between 2024, in a 1:56 scale. I.e. about 4MW of thermal power, at most. So at 2029, they will know if they want to take another step, perhaps even including nuclear material in a new prototype… At best a commercial reactor 2040?

    At 2040, solar+wind+battery will have made this technology completely obsolete. Nuclear research programs are just too slow. Lets hope that helion could be faster?

  45. I doubt Greta will permit the Swedes to lower their Carbon footprint with nuclear reactors, she led the campaign for them to shut down perfectly good reactors so that they could use more Russian gas.

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