30 April, 2007

Classification of Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear Reactors, specifically fission reacors, are classified by several methods, a brief outline of these classification schemes is given below.
Classification by use
Research reactors : Typically reactors used for research and training, materials testing, or the production of radioisotopes for medicine and industry. These are much smaller than power reactors or those propelling ships, and many are on university campuses. There are about 280 such reactors operating, in 56 countries. Some operate with high-enriched uranium fuel, and international efforts are underway to substitute low-enriched fuel.
Production reactors
Power reactors
Propulsion reactors


Classification by moderator material
Graphite moderated reactors
water moderated reactors

  • Light water moderated reactors (LWRs)
  • Heavy Water moderated reactors
Classification by coolant
Gas cooled reactor
Liquid metal cooled reactor
Water cooled reactor




  • Pressure water reactor
  • Boiling water reactor

Classification by type of nuclear reactionFast Reactors
Thermal reactors

Classification by role in the fuel cycleBreeder reactors
burner reactors

Classification by Generation
Generation II reactor
Generation III reactor
Generation IV reactor

Classification by phase of fuelSolid fueled
Fluid fueled
Gas Fueled

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