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Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the application of the breakdown of atomic nuclei and/or other sub-atomic physics, based on the principles of nuclear physics. It includes, but is not limited to, the interaction and maintenance of nuclear fission systems and components— specifically, nuclear reactors, nuclear power plants, and/or nuclear weapons. The field may also include the study of nuclear fusion, medical and other applications of (generally ionizing) radiation, nuclear safety, heat/thermodynamics transport, nuclear fuel and/or other related (e.g., waste disposal) technology, nuclear proliferation, and the effect of radioactive waste or radioactivity in the environment.

Training in the United States

The following is the typical coursework included in most U.S.marker nuclear engineering degree programs.

As with any engineering discipline, college preparation should include mathematics training through the beginnings of calculus, as well as introductory courses in physics and chemistry.

Undergraduate coursework

Undergraduate coursework should begin with a good foundation in construction and dynamics of particle motion, thermodynamics, introductory computer programming, college level physics and chemistry, and a rigorous training in mathematics through differential equations.

Midway through undergraduate training a nuclear engineer may choose a specialization within their field for further study. Upper level coursework in a nuclear engineering program can include but is not limited to fluid mechanics, reactor physics, quantum mechanics, thermal hydraulics, linear circuits, radiation effects, and neutron transport, reactor design, thermal hydraulics, and typically will involve a senior design project. Multi-energy neutron transport is taught at most universities offering degrees in nuclear engineering, but typically only at the graduate level.

Specialization in fission includes the study of nuclear reactors, fission systems, nuclear fuels, and nuclear power plants. Primary instruction deals with neutronics and thermal-hydraulics for nuclear generated electricity. A firm foundation in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics in addition to hydrodynamics is a must.

Specialization in nuclear fusion includes electrodynamics and plasmas. This area is very much research oriented and training often terminates with a graduate level degree. A major difference between this specialization from fission, is that there is virtually no practical engineering experience. This is due to the fact that there are operating fission power plants, but there has yet to be a steady state, controlled, and useful fusion reactor.

Specialization in nuclear medicine includes courses dealing with doses and absorption of radiation in bodily tissues. Those who gain competency in this area usually move into the medical field. Many nuclear engineers in this specialization go on to become board licensed medical physicists or go to medical school and become a radiation oncologist. Remaining in academia in a research capacity is also a common choice for graduates.

Professional areas

Nuclear fission

Nuclear fission is the disintegration of a fissionable atom's nucleus into two or more different elements nuclei. An approximate number of ~2.4 neutrons are scattered around per fission. There are two types of nuclear fission.1-Fast Fission2-Thermal fission

Generally, thermal fission is used in commercial reactors, if we disregard the Fast Breeder Type of Nuclear Reactors.

The United States gets about 20% of its electricity from nuclear power. This is a massive industry and keeping the supply of nuclear engineers plentiful will ensure its stability. Nuclear engineers in this field generally work, directly or indirectly, in the nuclear power industry or for government labs. Current research in industry is directed at producing economical, proliferation resistant reactor designs with passive safety features. Although government labs research the same areas as industry, they also study a myriad of other issues such as: nuclear fuels and nuclear fuel cycles, advanced reactor designs, and nuclear weapon design and maintenance. A principal pipeline for trained personnel for US reactor facilities is the Navy Nuclear Power Program.

Image:Nuclear Power Plant Cattenom.jpg|Nuclear Powerplant Image:B-61 bomb (DOE).jpg|B-61 thermonuclear weapon

Nuclear fusion and plasma physics

Research areas in nuclear fusion and plasma physics include high-temperature, plasma dynamics, and radiation-resistant materials. Internationally, research is currently directed at building a prototype tokamak called ITERmarker. The research at ITER will primarily focus on instabilities and diverter design refinement. Researchers in the USA are also building an inertial confinement experiment called the National Ignition Facilitymarker or NIF. NIF will be used to refine neutron transport calculations for the US stockpile stewardship initiative.

Image:NIF target chamber.jpg|NIFmarker (National Ignition Facility) target chamber

Nuclear medicine and medical physics

An important field is nuclear medicine. From x-ray machines to MRI to PET, among many others, nuclear medicine provides most of modern medicine's diagnostic capability along with providing many treatment options. Image:X-Ray Skull.jpg|X-Ray Image of a male skullImage:MRI head side.jpg|Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan of a headImage:PET-image.jpg|PET taken with an ECAT Exact HR+ PET Scanner

Nuclear materials and nuclear Fuels

Nuclear materials research focuses on two main subject areas, nuclear fuels and irradiation-induced modification of materials. Improvement of nuclear fuels is crucial for obtaining increased efficiency from nuclear reactors. Irradiation effects studies have many purposes, from studying structural changes to reactor components to studying nano-modification of metals using ion-beams or particle accelerators.

 Image:Uranium ore square.jpg|Uranium ore, the principal raw material of nuclear fuel
 Image:Nuclear fuel pellets.jpeg|Nuclear fuel pellets
 Image:Fib.jpg|A Focused ion beam


Radiation measurements and imaging

Nuclear engineers and radiological scientists are interested in the development of more advanced ionizing radiation measurement and detection systems, and using these to improve imaging technologies. This includes detector design, fabrication and analysis, measurements of fundamental atomic and nuclear parameters, and radiation imaging systems, among other things.

 Image:Geiger counter.jpg|A modern Geiger counter
 Image:Crocus-p1020552.jpg|A neutron detector
 Image:Crocus-p1020567.jpg|Scintillation detector next to Uraninite


Nuclear engineering organizations



List of institutions offering nuclear engineering courses

List of colleges in the U.S.

College Department (external links) Degrees offered
Air Force Institute of Technologymarker Engineering Physics MS,PhD
Arkansas Tech Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering MEng,BS
Colorado School of Minesmarker Nuclear Engineering MS,PhD
Cornell Universitymarker School of Applied and Engineering Physics BS,MEng,PhD
Kansas State Universitymarker Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
Georgia Institute of Technologymarker Nuclear and Radiological Engineering BS,MS,PhD
Idaho State Universitymarker Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering BS,MS,PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker Nuclear Science and Engineering BS,MS,PhD
Missouri University of Science and Technologymarker Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
North Carolina State Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
Ohio State Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering MS,PhD
Oregon State Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics BS,MS,PhD
Pennsylvania State Universitymarker Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
Pennsylvania State Universitymarker Distance Learning Program in Nuclear Engineering M.Eng.
Purdue Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutemarker Mechanical, Aerospace & Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
South Carolina State Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering BS
Texas A&M Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
University of California, Berkeleymarker Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
University of Cincinnatimarker Mechanical, Industrial and Nuclear Engineering MS,PhD
University of Floridamarker Nuclear and Radiological Engineering BS,MS,PhD
University of Idahomarker Nuclear Engineering MS,PhD
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignmarker Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering BS,MS,PhD
University of Maryland, College Parkmarker Materials and Nuclear Engineering MS,PhD
University of Massachusetts Lowellmarker Chemical Engineering BS
University of Michigan Ann Arbormarker Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences BS,MS,PhD
University of Missourimarker Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute MS,PhD
University of New Mexicomarker Chemical and Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PHD
University of Nevada, Las Vegasmarker Nuclear Engineering MS
University of Tennessee at Knoxvillemarker Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD
University of South Carolinamarker Nuclear Engineering ME,MS,PhD
University of Texas at Austinmarker Nuclear and Radiation Engineering MS,PhD
University of Wisconsin–Madisonmarker Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics BS,MS,PhD
United States Naval Academymarker Nuclear Engineering BS
United States Military Academymarker Nuclear Engineering BS
Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering MS


List of universities in Canada

University Department (external links) Degrees offered
McMaster Universitymarker, Hamiltonmarker Engineering Physics (Nuclear Engineering Option) B.Eng. Phys., Dipl. Nuc.Tech, M.Eng, M.A.Sc, Ph.D.
University of Ontario Institute of Technologymarker, Oshawamarker Nuclear Engineering B.Eng, M.Eng, M.A.Sc, Ph. D
École Polytechnique de Montréalmarker, Montréalmarker Institute of Nuclear Engineering M.Eng, M.Sc, PhD
Royal Military College of Canadamarker, Kingstonmarker Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering M.Sc, M.A.Sc, M.Eng, PhD


List of universities in the United Kingdom

College Department (external links) Degrees offered
Lancaster Universitymarker Nuclear Engineering M.Eng
University of Birminghammarker Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors MSc
Nuclear Technology Education Consortium Nuclear Science and Technology MSc
Nottingham Trent University Physics with Nuclear Technology BSc


List of colleges in India

College Department (external links) Degrees offered
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpurmarker Nuclear Engineering and Technology M.Tech, PhD


List of colleges in Turkey

College Department (external links) Degrees offered
Hacettepe University Department of Nuclear Engineering BS,MS,PhD

List of colleges in Pakistan

College/University Department (external links) Degrees offered
Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Islamabadmarker Department of Nuclear Engineering MS,PhD
Kannup Institute of Nuclear Power Engineering/NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachimarker Department of Nuclear Engineering MS,PhD
Chasnupp Center for Nuclear Training , Chasma Center for Nuclear Training and Engineering MS,PhD


List of universities in Israel

College Department (external links) Degrees offered
Ben-Gurion University of the Negevmarker Nuclear Engineering MS, PhD


List of universities in Bulgaria

College Department (external links) Degrees offered
Technical University of Sofiamarker Department of Thermal and Nuclear Power Engineering BS, MS, PhD


See also



External links






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