Overview of Short Learning Programmes and the Dissertation

 Course nameNQF levelCreditsType
1Introductory mathematics for nuclear energy UJ)6 (2nd year BSc)8Bridging
2Advanced mathematics for nuclear energy (UJ)7 (3rd year BSc)8Bridging
3Thermodynamics and electromagnetism in energy systems (UJ)6 (2nd year BSc)8Bridging
4Special relativity and quantum mechanics for nuclear applications (UJ)7 (3rd year BSc)16Bridging
5Nuclear physics for Power Reactors I (iThemba)8 (Honours)16Core
6Nuclear physics for Power Reactors II (iThemba)8 (Honours)16Core
7Radiation and radiological protection (NECSA)8 (Honours)8Core
8Numerical methods for Nuclear Science (UJ)8 (Honours)8Core
9Nuclear materials and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (NECSA)8 (Honours)8Core
10Environmental and Nuclear waste science (NECSA)8 (Honours)8Core
11Risk analysis and safe reactor operations (BIRA)8 (Honours)8Core
12Nuclear project management (UJ)8 (Honours)16Core
13Introduction to Nuclear Engineering (UJ)8 (Honours)16Core
14Experimental projects (iThemba, NECSA, UJ)8 (Honours)32Core
 Course nameNQF levelCreditsType
 Disertation (In any of the fields of the Coursework)8 (Masters)120100%

Breakdown of the Short Learning Programs

1.  Introductory mathematics for nuclear energy

  • Principles of vector calculus and vector operators
  • Scalar and vector products
  • Gradient operator, Laplacian, curl (and forms in cylindrical and spherical coordinates)
  • Principles of Gauss’s and Stoke’s theorems
  • Introduction to complex analysis
  • Vectors, matrices, solution of systems of linear equations, eigenvalues.
Credits: 8

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2.  Advanced mathematics for nuclear energy

  • Principles of series expansions and orthogonal functions
  • Solving differential equations
  • Applications of differential equations to energy related systems
  • NB use examples of solutions of differential equations with specific simplified illustrative solutions in different geometries relevant to a range of applications in the nuclear industry, i.e.: Wave equation, diffusion equation, transport equation
Credits: 8

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3.  Thermodynamics and electromagnetism in energy systems

  • Temperature related behaviour of matter and phase changes
  • Principles of convection, conduction, radiation and heat transport
  • Principles of heat engines and the conversion of heat to work
  • Behaviour of thermodynamic systems
  • Principles of thermodynamic potentials
  • Introduction to entropy
  • Maxwell’s equations obtained by integral form as in Serway
  • Electromagnetic radiation in vacuum
  • The solar spectrum
  • Principles of current and energy transmission
Credits: 8

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4.  Special relativity and quantum mechanics for nuclear applications

  • Relativity principles;
  • Space-time;
  • Four vectors;
  • The Lorentz transformation,
  • Energy mass equivalence
  • Pair production;
  • Mass deficit and origin of nuclear energy.
  • Particle wave duality;
  • Heisenberg uncertainty principle;
  • Wave functions and probability interpretation;
  • Schrödinger equation;
  • Operators;
  • Particle in a potential well;
  • Simple harmonic oscillator (first classical, then QM);
  • Introduction to Angular momentum;
  • Hydrogen atom;
  • Principles of Perturbation theory;
  • Variational Principle,
  • Parity, Exchange Symmetry,
  • Introduction to Matrix formulation,
  • Principles of first order scattering theory (optional)
Credits: 16

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5.  Nuclear physics for Power Reactors I

  • The Nuclear Chart,
  • Radioactive decay - Statistical nature and the exponential decay equation;
  • Decay mechanisms (β,α,γ), electron capture etc.;
  • Decay chains;
  • Half-life;
  • Activity;
  • Natural radioactivity;
  • Binding energy per nucleon and nuclear stability;
  • Liquid drop model;
  • Fission, Fusion, Capture, Decay Products,
  • Applications.
Credits: 16

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6.  Nuclear physics for Power Reactors II

  • Kinematics (non-relativistic and relativistic);
  • Simple Scattering, Cross-Sections, Thomson Scattering (classical);
  • Compton (quantum mechanical) scattering;
  • The deuteron;
  • Fermi gas;
  • Nuclear shell model;
  • Neutron capture;
  • Resonances;
  • Transmutation;
  • Fast neutrons;
  • Breeding reactions;
  • 233U and 239Pu Breeding Cycles
Credits: 16

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7.  Radiation and radiological protection

  • Detection of radiation types;
  • Energy loss mechanisms;
  • Radiation Damage,
  • Detector principles,
  • Photo-electric, Compton and Pair Production cross-sections,
  • Signal processing,
  • Statistical interpretation of data;
  • Data acquisition and storage.
  • Basic radiation biology;
  • Radiation monitoring;
  • Radiation dose units;
  • ALARA principle;
  • Radiation shielding;
  • Criticality considerations,
  • Radiation limits and regulations
Credits: 8

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8.  Numerical methods for Nuclear Science

  • Introduction to Unix
  • Introduction to C++
  • Root finding
  • Numerical Integration
  • Project 1 : The Semi-Classical solution of Molecular Vibrations
  • Curve fitting
  • Numerical solutions to differential equations (Runga-Kutta)
  • Project 2 : The QM solution for the Deuteron
  • Introduction to statistical simulation methods (Monte-Carlo)
  • Overview of reactor simulations
Credits: 8

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9.  Nuclear materials and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

  • Material properties and measurement techniques;
  • Wigner Energy;
  • Fuel, moderator and cladding requirements and specifications;
  • Basics of radiation damage in reactor materials – and effects on properties;
  • Generation IV nuclear materials and intrinsic safety considerations ,
  • Nuclear fuel cycle front end - Enrichment Technologies,
  • Breeding Cycles(232Th => 233U and 238U => 239Pu),
  • Reprocessing,
  • Refueling Schemes,
  • MOX,
  • Remote Handling Technologies,
  • Ionisation Chemistry (and radiation damage again).
Credits: 8

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10.  Environmental and nuclear waste science

  • Mining,
  • Natural Radioactivity
  • Radioactive Tailings and Mine Dumps,
  • Radioactive waste types and classification (fission products, actinides, LA, MA HA, etc.);
  • Waste confinement criteria and technologies, waste heat considerations;
  • Waste reprocessing;
  • Radioactivity release mechanisms and transport into the environment;
  • Nuclear reactor and plant Commissioning and decommissioning.
  • Environmental Assessments
  • Regulatory and Legal Frameworks.
  • World Distribution of Accessible Sources of Uranium and Thorium.
Credits: 8

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11.  Risk analysis and safe reactor operations

  • Introduction to probabilistic theory: sample spaces and events,
  • Laws of probability,
  • Random variables and distributions,
  • Relationships between distributions;
  • Joint probability distributions;
  • Expectation values and moments;
  • Moment generating function;
  • Central limit theorem;
  • Convolutions;
  • Stochastic processes
  • Normal distribution, variance, confidence limits, hypothesis testing
  • Decision theory: decision under risk, decision trees, decision under uncertainty;
  • Markov chains and the Markovian decision process
  • ISO standards,
  • Applications to Nuclear Power facilities
Credits: 8

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12.  Nuclear project management

  • Project scheduling by PERT – CPM;
  • Feasibility assessment and NPV calculations
  • Industrial Economics: Bank Rate, Financing, Construction Time,
  • Industrial Relations,
  • Legal Framework,
  • Power Distribution.
  • International regulations, conventions, safeguards and non-proliferation of nuclear materials
  • Management of accident scenarios and emergency .
Credits: 16

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13.  Introduction to Nuclear Engineering

  • Neutron cross sections;
  • Reactor materials (fuel, moderator, reflector, control and construction);
  • Criticality and reactivity;
  • Neutron transport and diffusion equations;
  • Reactor control;
  • Delayed neutrons;
  • Fission products including Reactor Poisons and Transuranic Actinides, Purity Requirements;
  • Temperature effects on reactivity;
  • Thermo-hydraulics;
  • Enrichment Distribution
  • Stability analysis;
  • Accident simulation;
  • Intrinsic safety criteria and generation IV reactor concepts.
  • Reactors; PWR, BWR, CANDU, AGR, HTR, PBMR, EWR, Fast Reactors, High Flux Reactors.
Credits: 16

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14.  Experimental projects

  • Experiment 1 : iThemba : Compton scattering
  • Experiment 2 : iThemba : alpha-particle spectra and ranges
  • Experiment 3 : iThemba : Natural radioactivity
  • Experiment 4 : iThemba : Gamma angular distributions to determine the spin of 19F
  • Experiment 5 : iThemba : (p,n) Threshold Reactions and Neutron detection
  • Experiment 6 : iThemba : Natural radioactivity
  • Experiment 7 : NECSA : Neutron Activation Analysis
  • Experiment 8 : NECSA : Radiation Monitoring
  • Experiment 9 : NECSA : Waste processing
  • Experiment 10 : iThemba : Cosmic Rays and the Muon Lifetime
  • Experiment 11 : iThemba : (p,ff) Detection of fission fragments
  • Experiment 12 : iThemba : Coincidence detection – Positron lifetimes
Credits 32

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