LeadCold Reactors (Blykalla Reaktorer) was founded in 2013 as a spin-off company from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. It has a subsidiary in Canada. Its SEALER-3 (Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor) is a lead-cooled fast reactor designed with the smallest possible core that can achieve criticality in a fast spectrum using 20% enriched uranium oxide fuel. The basic reactor is 8 MWt, with a peak electric power of 3 MWe, leading to a core life of 30 full power years (at 90% availability with no refulelling) with coolant below 450°C to minimise corrosion. The company has developed novel aluminium-steel alloys that are highly corrosion-resistant in contact with liquid lead. The reactor vessel is designed to be small enough to permit transportation by aircraft.
As the regulatory framework for licensing of small reactors in Canada is better established than in most other countries, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are likely to become the first markets for SEALER units. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has commenced Phase 1 of a 15-month vendor design review with completion due in June 2018, and the company hopes to receive a licence about 2021. In 2016 an Essel Group Middle East subsidiary agreed to invest in the Swedish-Canadian project, and in January 2017 a $200 million investment agreement was signed to license and construct "the world's first privately funded lead-cooled nuclear power plant.” The funding will enable LeadCold to complete the pre-licensing review with the CNSC, complete a detailed engineering design of the reactor, carry out the R&D necessary for licensing the design in Canada, and construct a full-scale 3 MWe demonstration unit by about 2025. In April 2018 the company began collaboration on safety analysis with Netherlands-based NRG, which operates the Petten high-flux research reactor.
SEALER-5 is a 5 MWe reactor design. Replacing the standard uranium oxide fuel with uranium nitride (UN), the same core can host 40% more fissile material. This allows the core to operate at 40% higher thermal power for the same duration as SEALER-3, i.e. 30 years.
SEALER-10 is the waste management system. After 30 years of operation, the early SEALER units will be transported back to a centralised recycling facility. The plutonium and minor actinides present in the spent fuel will then be separated and converted into nitride fuel for reycle in a 10 MWe SEALER reactor. One such reactor will be sufficient to manage the used fuel of ten smaller SEALER units