Nuclear reactor types

IET factfile: Nuclear reactor types

Introduction to the various types of nuclear reactors worldwide and information on prototype designs.

Many different reactor systems have been proposed and some of these have been developed to prototype and commercial scale. Six types of reactor (Magnox, AGR, PWR, BWR, CANDU and RBMK) have emerged as the designs used to produce commercial electricity around the world. A further reactor type, the so-called fast reactor, has been developed to full-scale demonstration stage.

These various reactor types will now be described, together with current developments and some prototype designs.