$200 Million More Invested Into Right-Sized Advanced Nuclear Power via Forbes

LeadCold and Essex Group ME have announced an agreement for a $200 million (USD) investment to build uranium-fueled power sources. Their systems, trademarked SEALER, are designed to compete with diesel generators to supply dependable power to communities and industries in remote areas of the world.

SEALER (Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor) is a fast spectrum nuclear reactor that uses low enriched uranium nitride fuel (19.5%) cooled by molten lead.


LeadCold is a Swedish-Canadian company spun out of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. VINNOVA (The Swedish Innovation Agency) has been supporting applied science, materials research and systems engineering at KTH for lead-cooled systems since 1996.

That long term effort resulted in a materials breakthrough that now supports a commercial product development effort. Lead has been an intriguing nuclear plant coolant option since the beginning of the Atomic Age, but it has a few characteristics that have – up to now – limited its utility.


Canada is shaping up to be a popular early adopter target for small nuclear power systems because they have both a capable regulator and communities or mining operations that need a new power option. The target areas have two options for electricity – high priced diesel generators burning fuel with an expensive logistics challenge or doing without power.

Solar systems are laughably inadequate in areas that often don’t see the sun for months at a time. Wind turbines don’t function with bitterly cold winds. Natural gas pipelines are non existent and coal has all kind of issues that has always limited its use in Arctic regions. Even long transmission lines are not an option because of cost, environmental impacts and weather vulnerability.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has a reputation as a capable regulator with many decades of experience in safe nuclear plant design review and operations oversight. It also has a process that is amenable to technologies that use non traditional fuels and coolants.


If there is a loss of electrical power that stops the flow of water into the steam generators, the primary lead-cooled system will gradually heat up, but it will not exceed any thermal limits on the reactor fuel or cladding for several weeks.

If restoration of cooling is delayed past that coping time, designers claim that the lead will retain 99.9% of any fission products that are released from the fuel rods.

The system design criteria is that fission product retention must be sufficient so that there is no need to consider evacuation as a means of protecting people. The places where SEALERs will operate are remote; large scale evacuation is virtually impossible.

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