This Electronic textbook has been made available to the interested reader in order to support self-study for those who are unfamiliar with basic nuclear engineering.
The manner in which the core of a nuclear reactor functions depends on the interaction of neutrons with atomic nuclei of matter.
The interaction of the neutrons with atomic nuclei is governed by their properties. For this reason several modules are dedicated to understand some features of atomic nuclei and nuclear reactions. Therefore, the course modules address the following topics: atomic nuclei, nuclear reactions, fission, neutron production, cross sections, chain reaction and steady state reactor.
The neutron distribution in fissionable material is an important aspect of the behaviour of the core. A conceptual description of the diffusion equation is presented to understand the behaviour of real reactor cores. Therefore, the course modules address the following topics: homogeneous and heterogeneous systems, neutron leakage, critical size and reflector, distribution of neutron flux and its effect on output power, changes in reactor power relative to time.
The final topic covered in this course deals with general aspects of reactor operation, namely: effect of neutron sources, reactivity effects due to temperature changes, xenon poisoning and fuel burnup.
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Last Resource Update : 2004
Nuclear Safety and Security