Generation IV

The future of fission nuclear power

In a pioneering step towards the future of sustainable energy, Ansaldo Nucleare is investing in the development of Generation IV lead-cooled fast neutron reactor demonstrator technology.

Nuclear energy and sustainability

We’re committed to the future of fission nuclear power. This carbon-free energy source, alongside renewables, will drive the widespread availability of sustainable, reliable and affordable electricity.

Investing in LFR technology

Over the last 20 years, we’ve invested significantly in lead-cooled fast reactor technology. As a fourth-generation technology, LFRs excel in qualities like competitiveness, safety, sustainability and non-proliferation. These advantages make LFRs a prime candidate for meeting the needs of the future energy market in a sustainable way.

Developing Generation IV

The vision of a lead-cooled, medium-sized fast reactor, which may reach commercial maturity between 2035 and 2040, is attracting a lot of interest.

Under the FALCON consortium, Ansaldo Nucleare has brought together ENEA, RATEN-ICN, and several other European support organisations in order to promote the construction of an Advanced LFR European Demonstrator (ALFRED).

ALFRED is fully supported and endorsed by the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII). With this project, we aim to develop Generation IV lead-cooled fast neutron reactor demonstrator technology, as part of the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology plan.

As part of the development of ALFRED in Europe more widely, Ansaldo Nucleare S.p.A. and our partners were recently awarded a €20 million contract for the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of the ATHENA experimental plant in Romania. ATHENA will be a 2.21 MW pool-type facility, equipped to host scale components for the testing of lead-cooled fast reactor technology.

New experimental facilities

Ansaldo Nucleare is also investing in the construction of experimental facilities at our UK headquarters in Wolverhampton. These facilities will house scaled-down components for performance testing, as well as a prototypical passive safety system for reactor decay heat removal.

What could Gen IV technology mean for the energy market?

We believe that the development of technologies for competitive hydrogen production could revolutionise the energy market in the next few decades. This technology will also require the development of a reliable energy source that’s capable of supporting the hybrid system.

That’s why we’ve been investing in the coupling of advanced modular reactors with innovative processes for hydrogen production, so that the higher temperature achievable through AMRs can be leveraged.