Syllabus for NUC-365
This course is a study of fundamentals associated with neutron properties and behavior in light water reactors. Course content includes mass-energy relationships, binding energy, radioactivity, neutron reactions with matter, neutron cross sections, neutron flux, neutron reaction rates, fissionable and fissile fuels, fission reaction, neutron production, neutron life-cycle, four-factor and six-factor formulas, the effect of reactivity on neutron multiplication, neutron flux and reactor power, reactivity, subcritical multiplication, prompt and delay neutron factors, neutron sources. The course topics also include the reactor period, reactivity coefficients, control rod worth, fission product poisons, fuel burnup, and decay heat removal when the reactor is shutdown.
- Nuclear Structure, Chart of the Nuclides, Radioactivity, and Interactions with Matter
- Neutron Production, Cross Section, Flux, Moderating Mechanisms
- Steady State Reactor, Critical Size, Neutron and Power Distribution
- Reactivity and Reactivity Coefficients (moderator, fuel, control rods, voids)
- Reactor Period, Startup, Steady State Operation, Shutdown and Decay Heat Removal
- Fission Product Poisoning, Fuel Burnup
After completing this course, you should be able to:
- CO1 Use the Chart of the Nuclides to examine nuclear structure as it pertains to stable nuclides and radioactive nuclides where particle and gamma ray emission processes occur.
- CO2 Describe neutron interactions with matter including the fission reaction, its energy release, and the difference between fissionable and fissile fuels.
- CO3 Discuss neutron production reactions including the difference between prompt and delayed neutrons.
- CO4 Describe neutron properties and processes as they relate to absorption, scattering and moderation.
- CO5 Explain the neutron life cycle in terms of the four factor and six factor formulas.
- CO6 Calculate thermal power and power peaking factor given a neutron flux distribution.
- CO7 Define criticality in terms of neutron multiplication, keff, and reactivity.
- CO8 Analyze, in terms of reactivity coefficients, the effects of coolant and fuel temperature, rod position, boric acid concentration in the moderator, and void formations for steady state reactor operation.
- CO9 Discuss the time dependent behavior of neutrons and their effect on the reactor startup rate and subsequent power changes.
- CO10 Evaluate reactor shutdown in terms of neutron population and the residual heat in the core.
- CO11 Analyze the buildup and equilibrium concentration of Xenon and Samarium during reactor operations, including the accumulation during reactor shutdown.
- CO12 Discuss how fuel burnup is accommodated during reactor operation.
You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. These textbooks are available online and can be downloaded yourself.
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). (September 2004). Reactor Physics. Education and Training, Nuclear Safety and Security. Available online at
- Department of Energy. (January 1993). DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory Volume 1 of 2 (DOE-HDBK-1019/1-93). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved online from https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/06/f2/h1019v1.pdf
- Department of Energy. (January 1993). DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory Volume 2 of 2 (DOE-HDBK-1019/2-93). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved online from https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/06/f2/h1019v2.pdf
Required Simulator Software
Important Note: You must submit your request form to IAEA during the first two weeks of your course to avoid any delay to have access to the simulator software.
Reactor Fundamentals is a three-credit online course, consisting of six modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.
- Module 1: Nuclear Structure, Chart of the Nuclides, Radioactivity, and Interactions with Matter
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2
- Module 2: Neutron Production, Cross Section, Flux, Moderating Mechanisms
Course objectives covered in this module: 3, 4
- Module 3: Steady State Reactor, Critical Size, Neutron and Power Distribution
Course objectives covered in this module: 5, 6
- Module 4: Reactivity and Reactivity Coefficients (moderator, fuel, control rods, voids)
Course objectives covered in this module: 7, 8
- Module 5: Reactor Period, Startup, Steady State Operation, Shutdown
Course objectives covered in this module: 9, 10
- Module 6: Fission Product Poisoning, Fuel Burnup
Course objectives covered in this module: 11, 12
For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take three online quizzes, and complete a final paper. See below for more details.
Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.
One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in this document.
This course requires you to participate in six graded discussion forums. There is also an ungraded but required introductions forum in module 1.
Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion board interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.
Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.
You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.
You are required to complete three PCTRAN simulator assignments for this course. PCTRAN (Personal Computer Transient Analyzer) is a software package that can simulate a variety of accident and transient conditions for nuclear power plants. It operates in the Windows environment. It was developed by Micro-simulation Technology for IAEA. The simulator we will use for this course is called PCTRAN Pool Reactor. For details and directions of these simulator assignments, please refer to the Simulator Assignments area of the course website.
There are three unproctored module quizzes for this course. Quiz 1 covers modules 1 and 2, Quiz 2 covers modules 3 and 4, and Quiz 3 covers modules 5 and 6. The quizzes should be taken after you complete the reading assignments, online discussions, and written assignments for each related module. Each quiz includes twenty multiple choice questions. You have up to 60 minutes to complete the quiz and may take it only once.
The Final Paper should cover a relevant topic in the course. It should represent further research into this topic and embrace three or more scholarly publications. You are required first to submit an outline that describes the paper topic and references that will be used. The mentor will review and approve your research topic before you complete the full paper. Your final paper should be at least six pages in length, not including cover page, table of contents, appendices, or other similar appurtenant material.
GRADING AND EVALUATION
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
- Online discussions (6)—24 percent
- Written assignments (6)—24 percent
- Simulator assignments (3)—6 percent
- Quizzes (3)—18 percent
- Final paper—28 percent
- Final paper outline—3 percent
- Final paper—25 percent
All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).
STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
First Steps to Success
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
- Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.
- Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State University.
- Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.
- If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.
Consider the following study tips for success:
- To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the Course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.
- Check Announcements regularly for new course information.
Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.
Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.
All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at www.tesu.edu.
Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:
- Gaining or providing unauthorized access to examinations or using unauthorized materials during exam administration
- Submitting credentials that are false or altered in any way
- Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
- Forgery, fabricating information or citations, or falsifying documents
- Submitting the work of another person in whole or in part as your own (including work obtained through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Submitting your own previously used assignments without prior permission from the mentor
- Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others (including making tests, papers, and other course assignments available to other students, either directly or through document sharing sites, tutoring schools, term paper companies, or other sources)
- Tampering with the academic work of other students
Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.
If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)
Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.
Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.
Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.
For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.
Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism
When to Quote and When to Paraphrase
Writing Assistance at Smarthinking
Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism
Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.
If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.
If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.
Possible sanctions include:
- Lower or failing grade for an assignment
- Lower or failing grade for the course
- Rescinding credits
- Rescinding certificates or degrees
- Recording academic sanctions on the transcript
- Suspension from the University
- Dismissal from the University
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