Module code: PHYM064

Module Overview

The course provides an introduction to nuclear energy generation and applications of nuclear science. Nuclear reactors, their physics and operation are described. Nuclear reactor safety case work is also discussed. Future potential energy generation mechanisms such including nuclear fusion will be discussed. The module will also present a range of applications of radioactivity measurement including aspects of Environmental Science and Medical Diagnogstics and treatment therapy.

Module provider

Mathematics & Physics

Module Leader

REGAN Patrick (Maths & Phys)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code:

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 24

Seminar Hours: 4

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Numerate academic background. The module will include some aspects of calculus and first order differential equations.

Module content

Introduction to nuclear reactor physics, neutron induced fission, energy release in fission, concept of neutron flux and cross-section, neutron cycle in thermal reactors, criticality, the four and six factor formulae, beta-delayed neutrons for control, moderators, nuclear power output calculation, breeder reactions. Radioisotope inventory of irradiated fuel, amounts produced, fissile and fertile materials. Differences between thermal reactors and fast reactors; the role of plutonium and higher isotopes. Reactor control and operation, neutron lifetime and delayed neutrons.
Breeder reactor designs and Thorium based cycles.

GEN IV reactor designs, SMRs; AMRs, MSR etc.
Aspects of Nuclear Fusion, inertial confinement and tokomak-based designs.
Legislative aspects of nuclear energy generation.

Aspects of applications of radioactivity, nuclear metrology, standards, traceability. applications in Nuclear Forensics and Nuclear Medicine in the 21st Century.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test Online Multiple Choice Question Test on Surreylearn (1 hour) 30
Examination End of Semester examination (2 hours) 70

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable for this module.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate both knowledge across the whole breadth of the module and a deeper cognitive/analytical ability alongside deeper knowledge in specified areas.

The short, multiple choice questions of the assessment package are able to test knowledge and understanding of a broad range of topics covered in the module.

The end semester examination is aimed at assessing the knowledge of specific chosen topics and depth of understanding expected at level 7 on nuclear energy physics and its applications.

Formative assessment and feedback
Feedback is given on class tutorials.

Module aims

  • To provide an understanding of the physics behind nuclear energy generation, including nuclear fission, environmental radioactivity, radionuclide metrology and nuclear medicine applications.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Gain an understanding of the basic concepts in nuclear power generation via nuclear fission and future possibilities with nuclear fusion. CKT
002 Be able to discuss and assess the importance of measurement and quality assurance in terms of nuclear power generation. CKT
003 Be able to to discuss problems inherent to nuclear forensics related to nuclear decay data for energy production, medical applications and security and resilience. CKT
004 Be able to discuss how measurements of radioactivity related to nuclear energy generation are accurate, fit for purpose and follow national and international standards. CPT
005 Ability to discuss problems inherent in neutronics and nuclear metrology related to applications of nuclear energy. CKT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include, lectures, seminars, large class tutorials.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PHYM064

Other information

None at present.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nuclear Science and Applications MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Nuclear Science and Radiation Protection MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Physics MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.