Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Physics 1

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Code Completion Credits Range Language
17ZAF1 KZ 4 3+1 Czech
Milan Štefánik (guarantor)
Milan Štefánik (guarantor)
Department of Nuclear Reactors

The lectures start with a description of the microworld structure at the level of electrons, protons and neutrons. A description of radioactivity and nuclear reactions follows subsequently. Great focus is given to neutron interactions with matter. The probability of nuclear reactions is described by introducing of cross-sections in dependence on the neutron energy. Fission of heavy atoms is the important process for the operation of nuclear reactors. The students will get familiar with issue of nuclear chain reaction, energy released from fission reaction, and issue of neutron balance. Then the most important reactor types are described including the complete scheme of nuclear power plant with the light water reactor. The analysis of diffusion environments is based on the application of the diffusion equation obtained from Fick's law. Students will be able to determine the neutron flux distribution in various diffusion environments with the point source, planar source, and linear source.

Syllabus of lectures:

1. Atom and nuclear physics

2 lectures

Introduction to problems, goals of the lectures, fundamental particles, structure of atom and nucleus, nuclear force, quantities and units, excited states, radioactivity and radioactive decay, nuclear stability, kinetics of radioactive decay, decay series, binding energy, mass defect.

2. Interaction of neutron with matter

2 lectures

Interactions of neutron with nucleus, neutron beam intensity, reaction rate and microscopic cross-section, neutron beam attenuation, neutron flux density, excitation functions - elastic scattering, inelastic scattering, cross-section of radiative capture, cross-section of fission, total cross-section; characteristics of neutron sources.

3. Neutron slowing down

3 lectures

The energy loss in elastic collisions, neutron scattering on hydrogen, neutron lethargy, neutron energy spectrum - Maxwellian spectrum (energy and rate distribution), thermal neutrons, thermal neutron flux, one-group thermal cross-section; neutron moderation, the macroscopic slowing down power and the moderating ratio.

4. Nuclear fission

3 lectures

Discovery of nuclear fission, fission process - liquid drop model of nucleus; fission reaction - critical energy of fission, fissile and fissionable nuclides; fission cross-section; fission products, neutron production, energy released in fission, spontaneous fission; nuclear chain reaction - multiplication factor, reactivity; neutron balance - infinite and finite system; four factor formula; prompt and delay neutrons; prompt neutron spectrum; fuel production and consumption.

5. Nuclear reactors

1 lecture

Basic terminology, categorization of nuclear reactors, nuclear power plant - 1st loop, 2nd loop, and 3rd loop; types of nuclear reactors, fuel cycle - front end, service period, and back end.

6. Fick's law

1 lectures

Neutron diffusion, neutron flux density and neutron current density, Fick's law - introducing of Fick's law, physical interpretation, verification of assumptions; transport cross-section, validity of Fick's law.

7. Diffusion theory

3 lectures

The equation of continuity, diffusion equation - validity of diffusion equation and boundary conditions; mathematical apparatus - Bessel functions, modified Bessel functions; neutron flux distribution in infinite environment; diffusion length, neutron sources in infinite environment - point source, planar source, and linear source, diffusion parameters.

Syllabus of tutorials:

1. Atom physics and radioactivity

2 excercises

Molar mass calculation, atomic ratio and mass fraction, atomic density calculation, radioactivity and production rate, Q-val. of nuclear reaction, binding energy, mass defect.

2. Interaction of neutron with matter

2 excercises

Cross-section calculations (microscopic and macroscopic), reaction rate and neutron flux, attenuation of neutron beam intensity, neutron beam density, kinematics of collision processes, collision parameter, nuclear fission modes.

2. Neutron balance, fuel cycle

1,5 excercises

Neutron balance calculation, multiplication factor, fuel production and consumption, one-group neutron flux density in nuclear reactor, calculation of multiplication factor and reproduction factor for thermal and fast reactors.

4. Diffusion theory

1,5 excercises

Calculation of neutron flux distribution in diffusion environment, point source, planar source, and linear source, one-group thermal cross-section, diffusion length and diffusion coefficient, transport mean free path, application of boundary conditions.

Study Objective:

Knowledge: Students have good knowledge on properties and types of nuclear reactions, issues of cross-sections, nuclear fission and neutron balance. They have knowledge on the composition of the atom nucleus, the properties of the diffusion environment and the fissile and fissionable materials.

Abilities: good overview in problems, application of obtained knowledge in other subjects in the field of reactor physics, ability to work with nuclear data, ability to determine the atomic densities of materials that are necessary for all analyzes performed in reactor physics and ability to perform calculation of neutron flux distribution in simple geometries using the diffusion equation.

Study materials:

Key references:

1. Lamarsh J. R.: Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, 3rd Ed., Prentice Hall, 2001

2. Frýbort J., Heraltová L., Štefánik M.: Úvod do reaktorové fyziky: teorie a cvičení. Skripta ČVUT v Praze, 2013, ISBN 978-80-01-05322-5

3. Zeman J.: Reaktorová fyzika 1, skripta ČVUT v Praze, 2003, ISBN 80-01-01933-0

Recommended references:

1. Heřmanský, B.: Jaderné reaktory. SNTL, Praha, 1981

2. DOE Fundamentals Handbooks - Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory, Vol. 1 a Vol. 2, 1993, DOE-HDBK-1019/1-93

3. Reuss P.: Neutron Physics, EDP Sciences, 2008

Time-table for winter semester 2018/2019:
Time-table is not available yet
Time-table for summer semester 2018/2019:
Time-table is not available yet
The course is a part of the following study plans:
Data valid to 2019-06-18
For updated information see http://bilakniha.cvut.cz/en/predmet2893506.html