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European Sodium Fast Reactor - Safety by Innovative Monitoring, Power Level flexibility and Experimental research

Project description

Pushing the bar on nuclear reactor safety

Nuclear energy is a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels and can play a vital role in the transition to climate neutrality, a key element in meeting the goals of the European Green Deal. However, future nuclear reactors can only be integrated into the European energy system once their safety and ability to meet social needs are demonstrated. This is where the EU-funded ESFR-SIMPLE project steps in. It aims to improve the safety of the current European Sodium Fast Reactor design and economics via innovative technologies, in line with the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative roadmap.


To facilitate the integration of the future nuclear reactors into the European energy system, it is necessary to demonstrate that the reactors have uncompromised safety and meet the future societal needs. The ESFR-SIMPLE project aims at challenging the current European Sodium Fast Reactor (ESFR) design to improve its safety and economics through implementation of innovative technologies in accordance with the ESNII roadmap. The project has 5 specific objectives:
1) Rethink the ESFR design in order to simplify it and make it more cost-competitive, while still achieving resource sustainability and having safety reinforced by intrinsic behaviour. This can be accomplished through reducing the size of the reactor, which will also allow taking advantage of Small Modular Reactor features such as transportability, modularisation, standardisation, and flexible operation, all ultimately leading to improved economics.
2) Assess impact of alternative technologies, such as metallic fuel and compact secondary system design, for the large-size ESFR on the economics and safety.
3) Propose, develop and assess advanced methods of monitoring and processing operational data using Artificial Intelligence, e.g. to optimise fault detection in steam generators at an early stage.
4) Produce new experimental data in order to assist in qualification of innovative components, such as expansion bellows, core catcher and thermo-electric pumps.
5) Ensure that the knowledge generated in the project is shared not only among the project partner institutions, but also with a wide range of stakeholders in Europe and internationally. The project activities will also be informed by the public and other stakeholders’ perception of risks and benefits of ESFR technology.
Close interactions with EU safety regulator experts will enable continued review and recommendation of the solutions proposed and developed in the project.



Net EU contribution
€ 857 214,00
75015 PARIS 15

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 884 586,25

Participants (11)

Partners (4)