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[en] The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Technology Roadmap identified the Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) as a technology well suited for electricity generation, hydrogen production and actinide management in a closed fuel cycle. One of the most important features of the LFR is the fact that lead is a relatively inert coolant, a feature that conveys significant advantages in terms of safety, system simplification, and the consequent potential for economic performance. In 2004, the GIF LFR Provisional System Steering Committee was organized and began to develop the LFR System Research Plan. The committee selected two pool-type reactor concepts as candidates for international cooperation and joint development in the GIF framework: these are the Small Secure Transportable Autonomous Reactor (SSTAR); and the European Lead-cooled System (ELSY). The high boiling point (1745 deg. C) of lead has a beneficial impact to the safety of the system, whereas its high melting point (327.4 deg. C) requires new engineering strategies, especially for In-Service-Inspection and refuelling. Lead, especially at high temperatures, is also relatively corrosive towards structural materials. This necessitates that coolant purity and the level of dissolved oxygen be carefully controlled, in addition to the proper selection of structural materials. For the GIF LFR concepts, lead has been chosen as the coolant rather than Lead-Bismuth Eutectic primarily because of its greatly reduced generation of the alpha-emitting 210Po isotope formed in the coolant. This results in significantly reduced levels of radioactive contamination of the coolant while minimizing the effect of decay power in the coolant from such contaminants; an additional consideration is the desire to eliminate dependence on bismuth which might be a limited resource. This paper provides an overview of the historical development of the LFR, a summary of the advantages and challenges associated with heavy liquid metal coolants, and an update of the current status of development of LFR concepts under consideration. The main characteristics of the SSTAR and ELSY systems are summarized, and the current status of design of each system is presented. Because of the significant recent efforts in the ELSY system design, greater emphasis is placed on the ELSY plant, with focus on the technological development and design provisions intended to overcome or alleviate recognized drawbacks to the use of heavy liquid metal coolants. In the case of the SSTAR system for which development has proceeded more slowly, a more limited summary is provided. It is noted that both systems share many of the same research needs and objectives thus providing a strong basis for international collaboration.