FAQ

What are the current reactors?

Answer

Almost all reactors of the first generation are stopped and the existing fleet which is ageing but receiving life extensions after careful and detailed safety evaluation is called Generation II. A new generation of reactors, generation III, is designed and now constructed and takes benefit of the large experience acquired in the operation of Gen II plants and of the lessons coming from TMI and Chernobyl. Light Water Reactors are still dominating. The major features changes are: new improvements in safety (taking into account severe accidents and security measures) while keeping economic competitiveness.

Background

There is currently a large domination of light water reactors, either Boiling or Pressurized (BWR, PWR, and VVER). Some countries made other choices: Heavy Water Reactors (CANDU), Gas Cooled Reactors (AGR), and Light Water Cooled Graphite Reactors (RBMK). Almost all reactors of the first generation are stopped and the existing fleet which is ageing but receiving life extensions after careful and detailed safety evaluation is called Generation II.
In many countries nuclear expansion was stopped after the TMI and Chernobyl accidents.
A new generation of reactors, generation III, is designed and now constructed and takes benefit of the large experience acquired in the operation of Gen II plants and of the lessons coming from TMI. Light Water Reactors are still dominating. The major features changes are: new improvements in safety while keeping economic competitiveness have been the main objective. Different approaches have been studied and are still competing in the industrial offer (small vs. large reactors, active/passive systems). Mitigation of severe accident consequences is a major step introduced in Gen III.
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