Heavy liquid metals such as lead or lead-bismuth have been proposed and investigated as coolants for fast reactors since the 1950s. More recently, there has been renewed interest worldwide in the use of these materials to support the development of systems for the transmutation of radioactive waste. Heavy liquid metals are also under evaluation as a reactor core coolant and accelerator-driven system neutron spallation source. Several national and international R&D programmes are ongoing for the development of liquid lead-alloy technology and the design of liquid-lead alloy-cooled reactor systems.
In 2007, a first edition of the handbook was published to provide deeper insight into the properties and experimental results in relation to lead and lead-bismuth eutectic technology and establish a common database. This handbook remains a reference and is a valuable tool for designers and researchers with an interest in heavy liquid metals.
The 2015 edition includes updated data resulting from various national and international R&D programmes and contains new experimental data to help understand some important phenomena such as liquid metal embrittlement and turbulent heat transfer in a fuel bundle. The handbook provides an overview of liquid lead and lead-bismuth eutectic properties, materials compatibility and testing issues, key aspects of thermal-hydraulics and existing facilities, as well as perspectives for future R&D.