MEng Civil Engineering with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Nuclear Systems

Unit code MACE30632
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Division (L5)
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This nuclear systems unit aims to provide students with an interesting and broad understanding of a nuclear engineering environment applicable to both fission and fusion systems.  This course provides students with an excellent foundation for any prospective engineer seeking an interest in the nuclear energy sector and will cover three key areas:
a) The history of nuclear power, the design of different reactor types, elementary reactor physics and thermal hydraulics, safety and protection, and reactor materials.
b) An introduction to the nuclear fuel cycle including fuel design and manufacture, in-reactor fuel behaviour, nuclear transport, options for spent fuel management, recycling uranium and plutonium.
c) The management of wastes including waste storage, waste disposal, treatment and long term storage options.


This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates

Aims

This unit aims to provide engage third year engineering students with an understanding of nuclear powered systems.  In particular, focus is given to the diversity of design, operation and decommissioning of nuclear reactors including an introduction to the nuclear fuel cycle and safety.

Syllabus

The syllabus is divided in to key areas, each of which will support the student to develop knowledge and understanding of the nuclear environment. There areas are detailed as:

1. History of nuclear energy, Introduction to reactor systems and core design and an Introduction to nuclear physics – The aims of these lectures are to familiarise the student to the basics of nuclear engineering.  The student will be able to describe the design of different reactor types, have a understanding of elementary reactor physics and thermal hydraulics and apply this knowledge to the design of past, present and future reactor cores.
2. Nuclear installation and Safety - The aim of these lectures is to give the students an introduction to the principles of nuclear installation safety, radiation protection and risk assessment, it will also allow the accidents presented in other parts of the module to be understood more fully.
3. Reactor types:
¿ Graphite moderated reactor including Materials Test Reactors, British Gen I (Magnox), Gen II (AGR’s) High Temperature Reactors and worldwide graphite reactors including RBMK.
¿ Water reactors including PWR, BWR and HWR. The students will also develop an understanding of basic radiation chemistry in water reactors. These lectures will provide the to the students with a good background to current reactors systems
¿ Fast reactors and Advanced Concepts including fusion design – These lectures will introduce to the students the concepts of Gen IV nuclear systems, In particular the practical implementation of these designs, the aspects of claimed inherent safety, fuel cycle, economics and non-proliferation aspects.
4. Reactor chemistry and non fissile materials - The aims of these lectures are for the students to have knowledge and understanding of the choice of materials for nuclear application and of irradiation ageing of nuclear materials due to fast neutron damage and radiolytic oxidation.
5. Radiation Protection – The aims of these lectures are to develop the students understanding of safety and protection, in particular the focus will be towards radiation detection and monitoring. An understanding of the principles governing radiological protection and Ionising Radiation Regulations, and evaluating the effects of exposure to radiation will also be undertaken.
6. Nuclear fuel, Fuel cycle and waste – Aims to give students a in depth understanding of the nuclear fuel cycle including fuel design and manufacture, in-reactor fuel behaviour, nuclear transport, options for spent fuel management, recycling uranium and plutonium.
7. Nuclear waste and decommissioning  - These lectures aim to provide the students with a comprehensive understanding of the management of wastes generated from the nuclear process  (non fissile) including waste storage, waste disposal, treatment and long term storage options.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 80%
Report 20%

Feedback methods

Individual feedback will be given to the students via the return of their coursework, which will have been appropriately annotated and marked by the lecturer. In addition class feedback is given within the lectures.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Practical classes & workshops 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alex Theodosiou Unit coordinator

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