NE 170A

NE 170A

Course Title: 
Nuclear Design: Design in Nuclear Power Technology and Instrumentation
Course Units: 
Catalog Description: 
  • Design of various fission and fusion power systems and other physically based applications. Each semester a topic will be chosen by the class as a whole. In addition to technology, the design should address issues relationg to economics, the environment and risk assessment.
Prerequisite Knowledge and/or Skills: 
  • NE 170A/B is a "capstone" design course requiring students to integrate the knowledge obtained in their undergraduate courses into a comprehensive design experience. This course is best taken after completing the remaining undergraduate Nuclear Engineering requirements. Students who took 170B are not allowed to take 170A, or vice versa.
Course Objectives: 
  • NE 170A/B is markedly different from other undergraduate courses in that the instructor acts more as a coach than a teacher. Sketching some broad design parameters of a system that presents real-life engineering issues, that will include health, safety, environmental, and other dimensions, the instructor sherpherds the students through a comprehensive design experience. Students must take charge of their own learning, using the instructor as a consultant and resource to point them in the right direction when they "get stuck.' It is the instructor's objective to create an environment in which students can work in teams to both meet design requirements and gain confidence in their abilities and leadership skills in solving large, complex, open-ended projects.
Course Outcomes: 
  • Develop the ability to design a nuclear system, component, or process to meet a specified design goal.
  • Gain experience in working effectively with a design team, including delegating responsibilities, developing schedules, and coordinating and reviewing team design projects.
  • Identify problems that must be solved to complete a design project, formulate the problems, and generate workable solutions.
  • Apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering gained from previous courses to the solution of a practical design problem.
  • Identify and understand the professional and ethical responsibilities the team and its members bear in performing the design project.
  • Identify and understand the environmental, public health, security, sustainability, and economic impacts of the design project, and optimize the design with respect to regulatory requirements.
  • Have knowledge of how the design project relates to contemporary issues facing society.
  • Develop ability to write design reports and to make oral presentations on project progress and final results.
  • Learn where resources and information can be found to perform engineering analysis and complete design projects, and establish a foundation for an ability to continue lifelong learning.

ABET Outcomes:

1) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.

2) an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.

3) an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.

4) an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.

5) an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.

6) an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.

7) an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Topics Covered: 

Actual nuclear system design involving:

  • Nuclear power and fule-cycle system: core physics (criticality, reactivity, enrichment, burn-up, fission-product formation), thermal hydraulics (heat transfer, heat exchange, thermal efficiency), materials (corrosion), safety (temperature and void coefficients, emergency cooling), shielding, chemistry (separation efficiency, waste generation), safety (criticality, radiation shielding, hazardous materials).
  • Radioactive waste management: safety (radiological, criticality), waste treatment (solidification, transportation), waste disposal (geologic repository).
Textbook(s) and/or Other Required Materials: 
  • None.
  • Undergraduate textbooks from other NE courses should be the first source of references.
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 
  • Students perform their design project by a team. They meet regularly (e.g. once per week) with faculty supervisor to give a progress report, obtain advice and discuss design issues.
Contribution of Course to Meeting the Professional Component: 
  • This course contributes primarily to the students' knowledge of engineering topics, and does provide design experience.
  • Since NE170A/B is a comprehensive design project, it implicity contains elements of economic, environmental, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, sustainability considerations. Some projects could contain elements of political and societal considerations.
Relationship of Course to Degree Program Objectives: 
  • This course primarily serves students in the department. The information below describes how the course contributes to the undergraduate program objectives.
  • NE170A/B encompasses most of the NE program's educational objectives, including emphasis on design methodology, working in teams, and preparing comprehensive written and oral presentations.
Assessment of Student Progress Toward Course Objectives: 
  • Student's ability to work with other team members, participating but not dominating the group, working constructively with others.
  • Planning, establishing, and developing a concept into a realistic design.
  • Written final design report (typically 50-100 pages in length, addressing as many issues as possible)
  • Oral presentation of report: each member gives a 15-20 minute presentation of some part of the report, followed by a questioning by the instructor to explore topics the student didn't cover as well as general knowledge expected of a student completing the program
  • Written Proposal (within the first 3 weeks): 25%
  • Bi-weekly report to the instructor: 25%
  • Written Final Report: 30%
  • Oral Presentation: 20%

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