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Syllabus for

Academic year
FRE051 - Nuclear engineering
Owner: TTFYA
5,0 Credits (ECTS 7,5)
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Level: C
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: English
Minimum participants: 3
Maximum participants: 35

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 No Sp
0102 Examination 5,0 c Grading: TH   5,0 c   Contact examiner,  Contact examiner

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Professor  Imre Pázsit


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

Basic courses in physics and mathematics


Nuclear Engineering is a cross-disciplinary subject which covers different disciplines ranging from neutron physics to thermal hydraulics, material science and chemistry.


The goal of the course is to give basic knowledge mainly in reactor physics and thermal hydraulics (heat transfer + single- and two-phase flow). These make up the mainstay for reactor construction, whereby thermal hydraulics is also important in other engineering disciplines.


In the first part of the course, the global energy situation will be briefly reviewed together with the distribution of energy production between conventional and nuclear power. An overview of the whole process with energy production in a nuclear power plant will be given where the fuel cycle from mill to final disposal of waste is described. Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) and Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) which are the most common reactor types in the world will be described in general as well as their components.

In the second part, an introduction to reactor physics will be given. This includes the energy release from fission, cross-sections, criticality, reactivity, reactor statics and time-dependent states together with the basis to space-dependent diffusion theory in 1- and 2-energy groups. Furthermore, the effect of poisoning and depletion (burnup) as well as reactor dynamics which integrates the neutronics with the thermohydraulics will be discussed.

In the third part, the importance of thermohydraulics in reactors during both steady-state and transient plant conditions will be outlined. This includes heat conduction and convection, single- and two-phase flows, the concepts of heat flux and heat transfer coefficient, boiling, empirical correlations, flow regimes, critical heat flux, dryout, etc. Finally, a short description of safety principles and safety systems as well as computer programs for thermohydraulic transient analysis is given.

The content of the course is organized in order to give the students a solid basis of nuclear engineering (allowing them to either pursue a career in the nuclear industry or continue post-graduate studies in nuclear engineering).

A special lecture is also organized:
- The thermohydraulic RELAP5 code (by Dr. József Bánáti).


Lectures, 6 hrs/week. The language is English.
Calculational exercises, 2 hrs/week (usually given as hometasks).

Study trip to Ringhals.

2 laboratory experiments in Chalmers:
- Assembly/core calculations (4hrs): Use of the CASMO-4/SIMULATE-3 codes (codes used in the nuclear industry) to study some reactor physics phenomena (effects of control rods, boron, conditions for positive/negative MTC, xenon transient, advantage of fractional core reloading, etc.). Furthermore, the purpose of the lab is to give the students an overview of the methodology used for modelling a nuclear core.
- Transient and safety analysis (4 hours): Use of best-estimates codes to study a few Design Basis Accidents (DBAs) where the coupling between the neutron kinetics/thermohydraulics is of importance (control rod ejection/withdrawal, main steam line break, feedwater disturbances, local boron dilution). This laboratory exercise is based on a realistic RELAP5/PARCS model of the Ringhals-3 PWR.

Written reports need to be made after each laboratory exercise.


Lectures on Nuclear Engineering, Lecture notes by M. Analytis, printed at the Department.

Equivalent English books:
- Glasstone and Sesonske: Nuclear Reactor Engineering.
- Lamarsh: Introduction to Nuclear Engineering.
- Todreas and Kazimi: Nuclear Systems I and II.


Oral examination. If several (at least three) students would prefer written examination, this is also possible to arrange. Irrespective of a possible written exam, all students who prefer the oral examination can choose this option.

Page manager Published: Thu 03 Nov 2022.