PHYS-443 / 6 crédits

Enseignant(s): Hursin Mathieu, Pautz Andreas

Langue: Anglais


In this course, one acquires an understanding of the basic neutronics interactions occurring in a nuclear fission reactor as well as the conditions for establishing and controlling a nuclear chain reaction.


  • Brief review of nuclear physics
    - Historical: Constitution of the nucleus and discovery of the neutron
    - Nuclear reactions and radioactivity
    - Cross sections
    - Differences between fusion and fission.
  • Nuclear fission
    - Characteristics - Nuclear fuel - Introductory elements of neutronics.
    - Fissile and fertile materials.
  • Element of reactor design
    - flux and heat source distribution; properties of different coolants and technological consequences
  • LWR reactors technology
    - overview of the functional scheme of PWR and BWRs; fuel elements; compensation of excess reactivity in PWRs and BWRs (boron, etc,)
  • Neutron diffusion and slowing down
    - Monoenergetic neutrons - Angular and scalar flux
    - Diffusion theory as simplified case of transport theory - Neutron slowing down through elastic scattering.
  • Multiplying media (reactors)
    - Multiplication factors - Criticality condition in simple cases.
    - Thermal reactors - Neutron spectra - Multizone reactors - Multigroup theory and general criticality condition - Heterogeneous reactors.
  • Reactor kinetics
    - Point reactor model: prompt and delayed transients - Practical applications.
  • Reactivity variations and control
    - Short, medium and long term reactivity changes. Different means of control.
  • Advanced reactor designs
    - Breeding and transmutation; introduction into Gen-IV reactors


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Elaborate on neutron diffusion equation
  • Formulate approximations to solving the diffusion equation for simple systems
  • Classify nuclear reaction cross sections
  • Develop for a nuclear reactor

Transversal skills

  • Access and evaluate appropriate sources of information.
  • Collect data.
  • Use both general and domain specific IT resources and tools
  • Write a scientific or technical report.

Teaching methods

Lectures, numerical exercises

Assessment methods

oral exam (50%)

group project (50%)


Moodle Link

Dans les plans d'études

  • Semestre: Automne
  • Forme de l'examen: Oral (session d'hiver)
  • Matière examinée: Physics of nuclear reactors
  • Cours: 4 Heure(s) hebdo x 14 semaines
  • Exercices: 2 Heure(s) hebdo x 14 semaines
  • Type: obligatoire

Semaine de référence

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