PostGraduate Diploma Course in the Physics, Engineering and Safety of Nuclear Power Reactors


The code, name and a short description of each module are given below.

Phys 523 Introduction to Nuclear Science

This module will refresh the basic concepts necessary for the understanding of the course content, namely introductory biology, mathematics, physics and statistics. Radiation protection principles and biological effects of radiation are introduced.

Phys 524 Basic Nuclear Physics for Power Reactors

Includes atomic nature of matter, mass defect and binding energy, modes of radioactive decay, radioactivity, neutron interactions, nuclear fission, energy release from fission and interaction of radiation with matter.

Phys 525 Reactor Theory (Neutron Characteristics
Includes the neutron life cycle, reactivity and reactivity coefficients, neutron poisons, Xenon, Samarium and other fission product poisons, control rods, and reactor start-up, operation and shutdown

Phys 526 Practical Projects on Nuclear Power

To enhance the student's understanding of the impact of nuclear technology on society and the environment, this module provides practical experience of the operation, shutdown, refueling and start up of a nuclear reactor, including visits to various nuclear establishments.

The first part consists of a practical project carried out at the SAFARI I nuclear research reactor at NECSA, involving the shutdown and start-up of the reactor. The second part involves the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment for a nuclear power reactor.

Phys 527 Introduction to Nuclear Engineering

This module gives an introduction to the nuclear field by the history of nuclear power, the major types of nuclear reactors, the nuclear fuel cycle, major nuclear reactor accidents, reactor core design, thermal hydraulic analysis, challenges faced in producing safe and economical nuclear power, aspects affecting core power density and how this impacts on reactor size, reactor control and shielding.

Phys 529 & 536 Nuclear Safety and Licensing of Nuclear Power Reactors

These modules deal with the principles and techniques of determining the safety of, and the process of licensing a nuclear power plant. It includes: conditions of authorization and licensing; licence scope, conditions and processes; deterministic and probabilistic safety assessment; radiological risk assessment; mechanical structural analysis from a regulatory perspective; design philosophy for nuclear installations and power plants; development of a safe plant design basis; control and monitoring of radioactive discharges; severe accident analysis; emergency planning preparedness and intervention; radiation protection management in the operation of nuclear power plants; quality management in nuclear applications; safety culture; SAQA / NQF accreditation; inspection, compliance and enforcement; international safety standards; regulatory organisations and their functions; assessment and licensing; nuclear safety principles and objectives; verification and assurance of nuclear safety; provision for in-service inspection in the design of a plant installation; radioactive waste management; and international approaches to regulation and licensing.

Phys 530 Thermodynamics for Nuclear Power Plants

Includes properties of pure substances, work and heat, the First Law of Thermodynamics, unsteady state processes, the Second Law and entropy, reversible and real processes, power cycles and the PBMR cycle.

Phys 531 Fluid Mechanics in Gas-Cooled Nuclear Reactors

This module deals with basic laws to describe fluid mechanics and their applications in the PBMR, dimensional analysis and similitude, finite systems and finite control volumes, incompressible flow through pipes, and one-dimensional compressible flow.

Phys 532 Heat Transfer in Nuclear Reactors

Topics covered include an introduction to heat transfer, one-dimensional steady-state conduction, two-dimensional steady-state conduction, transient conduction, introduction to convection, external flow, internal flow, and heat exchangers.

Phys 533 Axial Turbo-Machines in Gas-Cooled Reactors

Fundamental theory is followed by axial compressor design, surge and stall, axial turbine design, prediction of turbo-machine performance, and mechanical integrity.

Phys 534 / 5 Physics and Engineering for the PBMR I / II

These two modules cover the following:

auxiliary systems, burn-up and activity measurement systems, fuel handling and storage system, helium inventory control system, core conditioning system, reactor pressure vessel conditioning system, heat, ventilation and air-conditioning system, start-up blower system, decontamination system, waste handling system, active cooling system, electrical systems and principles, reactor protection system, plant layout and radiological zoning, installed radiation monitoring system, source terms, and radioactive waste processing systems.


Course Outline
Schonland Research Institute
University of the Witwatersrand
The PBMR Company