Developments in power systems like the installation of new generation resources and interconnections may increase short-circuit current levels and consequently, impose additional costs of replacing circuit breakers and equipment. In these cases, one of the best methods to reduce short-circuit currents in power systems and avoid significant replacement costs is to use fault current limiters (FCLs). This paper suggests a new method for optimally locating and sizing FCLs using an imperialist competitive algorithm (ICA). The ICA finds the optimal locations and sizes of FCLs such that not only are short-circuit currents reduced, but the size of the installed FCLs is also minimized, and the system reliability is increased. Indeed, three indices including the short-circuit level, the economic cost of FCLs, and the lost power are integrated into an objective function with a new formulation. The results obtained from multiple executions of the suggested procedure for the 39-bus New England benchmark system confirm that the formulation of indices in the objective function is suitable and the indices can be prioritized easily. Also, the results indicate that the ICA can find the optimal locations and sizes of FCLs with good convergence and accuracy considering the specified objectives and priorities.