Atom EEE 460 Nuclear Power Engineering

In addition to the on-campus class section, this course is offered regularly via the Internet. For information on registering for the online section (EEE 591), see the Fulton GOEE Engineering Online.

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the multidisciplinary applications of nuclear concepts in the engineering profession. The first third of the semester solidifies fundamental concepts related to the practical use of atomic and nuclear physics including particles, reactions, and radioactivity. With knowledge of the radiation physics, we study nuclear interations, fission and nuclear radiation. Finally, the semester concludes by applying the nuclear concepts to the generation of (electrical) power via both fission and radioactive decay processes.

ASU Catalog Description:

Radioactivity and decay. Radiation interactions and dose. Nuclear reaction, fission and fusion theory. Fission reactors, four factor formula, moderation. Nuclear power, TMI, Chernobyl. Nuclear fuel cycle. Prerequisites: CHM 114 (or 116) [chemistry]; MAT 274 (or 275) [differential equations]; PHY 241 (or 361) [modern physics].

Course Objective: Provide students with an understanding of the multidisciplinary applications of nuclear concepts in the engineering profession.

The corresponding Course Outcomes are

Course Links


Class Mtg Lecture Topic Handouts and Other References
1 Introduction; Energy (1.11.7) Relativity relations and Electromagnetic Spectrum diagram.
2 Atomic Number Density (2.12.2) Atomic Number Density relations.
3 Atoms and Nuclei; Binding Energy (2.32.8) Also see Mass Defect FLASH animation.
4 Nuclear Stability; Radioactive Decay (3.13.2) Radioactive Decay FLASH animation.
5 Decay Quantities; Simple Decay (3.3) Radioactive Decay derivations for simple, compound and complex decay.
6 Transmutation; Compound Decay; Radioactive Chains (3.43.6) Transmutation equation derivations for buildup and decay; also see Radon and U-238 Decay FLASH animation.
7 Nuclear Reactions and Energetics (4.14.2)  
8 Binary Reactions; Neutron Cross Sections (4.3, 4.6)  
9 Neutron Flux; Reaction Rates (4.4)  
10 Particle Attenuation; Neutron Migration (4.5, 4.74.8)  
11 Charged Particle Interactions (5.15.3) Charged Particle Ionization and Range. Graph of the Aluminum Shielding of Electrons and Protons [1].
12 Neutral Particle Interactions (5.45.7) Graphs of Silicon and GaAs mass attenuation and energy-absorption coefficients [2]. Graph of Silicon Interaction Coefficients [3]. Also see Gamma Interactions FLASH animation.
13 Fission (6.16.5) Fission and Fusion FLASH animations.
14 Nuclear History (8.18.8) Einstein's Aug 2, 1939 letter to President Roosevelt from the American Institute of Physics
15 Review for Midterm Exam  
16 *** Midterm Exam ***  
17 Biological Effects of Radiation (10.110.6) Radiation Units. Diagram of Radiation Exposure Pathways.
18 Radiation Protection (11.111.3) Health Physics
19 Criticality; Multiplication Factors (16.116.3)  
20 Four Factor Formula (16.416.8) Four Factor Formula summarized.
21 Light Water Reactors (18.118.2, 18.4); Thermal Efficiency (17.4) Power Generation; and Water Properties including steam tables. Diagrams of PWR [4], BWR [4], and Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (PVNGS). Also see Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) and Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) FLASH animations.
22 Economics; Other Power Reactors (18.4, 18.518.9)  
23 Reactor Kinetics; Reactivity Feedback (20.120.3)  
24 Reactor Control; Fuel Burnup (20.420.7)  
25 Reactor Safety; PRA (21.121.5)  
26 TMI-2; Chernobyl; Fukushima (21.621.12) Chernobyl (RBMK) Reactor Design diagram [5]
27 Nuclear Propulsion; Remote Power (22.122.5)  
28 Nuclear Fuel Cycle (23.123.5)  
29 Waste Disposal (23.623.10)  
30 Review for Final Exam  
31 *** Final Exam ***  


  1. E. J. Daly, A. Hilgers, G. Drolshagen, and H. D. R. Evans, "SpaceEnvironment Analysis: Experience and Trends," ESA 1996 Symposium on Environment Modelling for Space-based Applications, Sept. 18-20, 1996, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
  2. J. H. Hubbell and S. M. Seltzer, "Tables of X-Ray Mass Attenuation Coefficients and Mass Energy-Absorption Coefficients," NISTIR 5632, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD.
  3. Paul Kehler, Applied Nuclear Science Data, collected by AIC Software, Inc.
  4. Tennessee Valley Authority.
  5. Source Book on Soviet-Designed Nuclear Power Plants, 4th Ed., Nuclear Energy Institute, Washington, DC, 1996.

Nuclear Topics Links

Nuclear Topics Table of Contents and Quick Jump
Anti-Nuclear Basic Nuclear Data Fuel Cycle Fusion
Health Physics History Legal/Regulatory Natural (Background) Radiation
Nuclear Power Organizations Other Links Radioactive Waste
Safety Space Related Standards State of Arizona
Uses of Nuclear "Energy" Weapons  


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