Abstract The Generation IV Gas-cooled Fast Reactor (GFR) concept is proposed to combine the advantages of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (such as efficient direct conversion with a gas turbine and the potential for application of high-temperature process heat), with the sustainability advantages that are possible with a fast-spectrum reactor. The latter include the ability to fission all transuranics and the potential for breeding. The GFR is part of a consistent set of gas-cooled reactors that includes a medium-term Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR)-like concept, or concepts based on the Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR), and specialized concepts such as the Very High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR), as well as actinide burning concepts [A Technology Roadmap for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, US DOE Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee and the Generation IV International Forum, December 2002]. To achieve the necessary high power density and the ability to retain fission gas at high temperature, the primary fuel concept proposed for testing in the United States is dispersion coated fuel particles in a ceramic matrix. Alternative fuel concepts considered in the US and internationally include coated particle beds, ceramic clad fuel pins, and novel ceramic ‘honeycomb’ structures. Both mixed carbide and mixed nitride-based solid solutions are considered as fuel phases.