The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has expressed an interest in accelerating the deployment of affordable, advanced reactor concepts that would enhance the safety of the US commercial fleet. Many advanced reactor designs being studied today use molten metal or salt as a primary coolant. These designs offer several advantages over the standard water-cooled reactors in the US commercial fleet. They operate on a fast neutron spectrum allowing them to be more compact, they operate at much lower pressures making them inherently safer, and they are much more capable of cooling themselves through natural convection.
Our team was tasked with designing a fast-spectrum, tin-cooled reactor (TFR). Molten tin has not yet been investigated as a potential coolant for a fast reactor design, and a successful design could inspire research into designs with alternative coolants. Our team’s solution is a Tin-cooled Low-Temperature Reactor (TiLTR). TiLTR is a 1000 MWth, fast-spectrum, small modular nuclear reactor intended for commercial power production. Our design is an adaptation of a Westinghouse demonstration lead fast reactor (DLFR) that takes advantage of the thermophysical properties of molten tin to achieve a greater power density and lower operating temperature than the DLFR design.