The class provides students with an overview of the contemporary nuclear energy technology with emphasis on nuclear fission as an energy source. Starting with the basic physics of the nuclear fission process, the class includes discussions on reactor control, thermal hydraulics, fuel production, and spent fuel management for various types of reactors in use around the world as well as analysis of safety and other nuclear-related issues. This class is intended for sophomore NE students, but is also open to transfer students and students from other majors.
Physics 7A and 7B, Physics 7C may be taken concurrently. Mathematics 53 and 54 may be taken concurrently.
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
- understand basic theoretical concepts of nuclear physics, reactor physics, and energy removal
- describe radiation damage mechanisms in materials and biological tissue, estimate radiation dose, understand radiation shielding
- understand the concepts of chain reaction, neutron balance, criticality, reactivity, and reactivity control
- describe the main nuclear power reactor designs and identify their major components
- describe core components and understand their function
- calculate cost of electricity based on simple economic principles
- describe the difference between PWR and BWR in terms of core design, steam cycle, and operation
- understand the concept of design-basis accidents, their causes, and their consequences
- identify the main steps and related facilities of fuel cycle
- understand the fundamental aspects of used fuel reprocessing and disposal