A lead pump for SEALER: Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor project video thumbnail
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$5,890 pledged of $300,000 goal
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By LeadCold Reactors
$5,890 pledged of $300,000 goal
backers

About this project

This is what you get:

For 300 000 USD, we will be able to build and make real condition tests of the most critical component of a lead cooled Generation IV reactor: the pump. If our pump materials survive continuous operation for more than one year, we will be ready to go ahead and get our small reactor design reviewed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. One third of the funds will be used to procure the pump, another third for designing the facility (including our work), and the remaining third for constructing it, including piping, storage tanks, and mission critical instrumentation. Supporting our project, you will be able to closely follow the progress of the design, construction and operation of the pump facility, on-line and in real life! 

If we succeed, SEALER will be the first privately funded Generation IV reactor producing electricity. The eventual aim is to provide arctic communities in northern Canada with clean, safe and reliable nuclear power by 2024. Today, they risk freezing to death when their diesel generators break down during dark and cold winter nights!

Thanks for your support, and recall that if the pump facility does not get funded by May 18, your contribution will be returned! 

You may read more about our company on www.leadcold.com.

This is what media says about our project:

Background

The beauty of nuclear power is that with a minimum of resources, it can produce a maximum of utility for humankind. By recycling the ashes of super-nova explosions, we may enjoy cleaner air, better education, health-care and more time for the small things that make life worth living.

Nuclear power is already now safer than any other mode of generating electricity on large scale. Generation IV reactors promise to use the uranium we have mined a 100 times more efficiently, while producing a 100 times less long lived high level waste than reactors of today. They should also eliminate any need for evacuation, should a severe accident occur.

The means

We believe that the use of lead coolant is the most expedient and efficient way to achieve the goals of Generation IV. For this purpose, LeadCold has designed a very small reactor that ensures reliable and safe production of power for sites where evacuation can never be an option. Enter SEALER - the Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor.

The most important advantage of lead is that it allows to combine a closure of the fuel cycle 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

The challenges

Lead-alloys were used as coolant in sub-marine reactors already in the 60's. However, for a commercial application, one need to resolve a few remaining technical challenges, the most important being:

  • Corrosion of steel structures 
  • Erosion of moving parts, such as pump impellers

The solutions

Two approaches to protect materials used for fuel cladding and heat exchanger tubes in lead cooled reactors have been advanced in Russia and Germany:

  • Introduction of silicon into ferritic steels, leading to formation of protective silica scales 
  • Surface alloying of ferritic or austenitic steels with FeCrAlY, forming protective alumina scales

In Sweden, research on aluminium bearing bulk alloys has been made by LeadCold staff at KTH, in collaboration with Swedish steel industry. The outcome is a novel material exhibiting no significant corrosion damage after exposure to lead for 19 000 hours at 550°C. In the video below, you can see how well this material performs, as compared to a commercially available aluminium bearing alloy, not optimized for use in lead.

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For SEALER we intend to apply surface alloying of austenitic stainless steel for production of fuel cladding tubes. Aluminium bearing ferritic alloys appear to be an adequate solution for heat exchanger tubes. 

The final major challenge in terms of materials is that of the lead pump impeller. This particular component is subject to wear as a result of high relative velocities between the heavy liquid metal and the impeller vanes. In order to obtain a license for operating SEALER we must build and operate a lead pump demonstration facility, where several possible impeller materials will be tested under real operating conditions over several years. The photo below shows a small scale prototype where we are screening candidate materials. 

With your support we will be able to build the lead pump facility we need to prove the SEALER concept. The facility will be located on the premises of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, where we have been carrying out research on lead cooled reactor systems over the last 18 years. 

If we are successful in raising the fund necessary to build the facility, it will be built during the fall of 2014, with an official inauguration in December. Those of you who contribute with 2000 USD to our project will receive a personal invitation to this event. 

In the beginning of 2015, we will start our experiments, lasting months for initial screening of materials, and eventually years when qualifying them for commercial operation. Those of you who contribute with at least 100 dollars will be able to continuously monitor the progress of our experiments through our exclusive on-line service. 

Supporting us, you will become part of the leadcold revolution of small scale nuclear power!

Risks and challenges

The risk we face is that by end of our multi-year experiment that, our materials will have to be modified to achieve better mechanical properties or better irradiation performance. This will result in a delay of the commercial implementation.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Your name in the list of supporters of the SEALER lead pump project on the web site of LeadCold Reactors.

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    A LeadCold T-shirt and personal access to on-line monitoring of our experiments.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    A LeadCold lab coat awarded to you during a guided tour in our laboratories in Stockholm. If you are not able to join the tour, we'll send the coat to your home.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A lead crystal model of the SEALER reactor vessel, given to you at a lunch seminar about SEALER in Stockholm or Toronto. If you are not able to attend the seminar, we'll ship the award to your home.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Invitation to dinner and a special seminar about the SEALER project in the R1-cave, where the first Swedish reactor started operation 60 years ago!

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    A golden colour zirconium nitride pellet manufactured in our laboratories, embedded in the finest, lead crystal, awarded to you at a the inauguration of the SEALER lead pump laboratory.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    A personal invitation to attend the first criticality of SEALER!

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Funding period

- (33 days)