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Lester, Richard, 22.812J Managing Nuclear Technology, Spring 2004. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 07 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Managing Nuclear Technology

Spring 2004

A cutaway view of an emplacement drift used to store nuclear waste.

Cutaway of an emplacement drift with three types of waste packages, as planned for the Yucca Mountain Project. (Illustration courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.)

Course Highlights

This course features extensive lecture notes and readings, plus a rich collection of related links on nuclear safety and proliferation.

Course Description

An examination of current economic and policy issues in the electric power industry, focusing on nuclear power and its fuel cycle. Introduces techniques for analyzing private and public policy alternatives, including discounted cash flow methods and other techniques in engineering economics. Application to specific problem areas, including nuclear waste management and weapons proliferation. Other topics include deregulation and restructuring in the electric power industry.

Technical Requirements

Microsoft® Excel software is recommended for viewing the .xls files found on this course site. Free Microsoft® Excel viewer software can also be used to view the .xls files.


General Information


The subject is addressed to graduate students and advanced undergraduates. An undergraduate background in science or engineering subjects will be assumed.

Class notes (handouts) will be distributed in class and will be available on-line at the handouts page after each class session.


No formal prerequisites.


 Park, Chan S., and Gunther Sharp-Bette. Advanced Engineering Economics. New York, NY: Wiley, 1990. ISBN: 9780471799894.

MIT Nuclear Study Group. "The Future of Nuclear Power." Published July 29, 2003.

Xeroxed classnotes.

Grading Information

2 Quizzes 50%
Homework 20%
Team Project 30%


1 Introduction  
2 Balance Sheets and Income Statements

The Time Value of Money

Discrete and Continuous Compounding
Problem set 1 due
3 Time Value of Money Mechanics (cont.) Problem set 2 out
4 The Effects of Inflation

Calculation of Capital Costs
Problem set 3 out

Problem set 2 due
5 Depreciation, Capital Recovery, and Taxes  
6 Depreciation, Capital Recovery, and Taxes (II) Problem set 3 due
7 Levelized Cost of Product

Carrying Charges
Problem set 4 out
8 Methods for Project Evaluation Problem set 4 addendum out
9 Methods for Project Evaluation (II): Nuclear Power Economics  
10 Quiz #1 Problem set 4 due
11 Retirement/Replacement Problems

Cost of Capital
Problem set 5 out
12 Evaluating Projects under Uncertainty  
13 Economics of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (I): Material Balances and Simple Cost Models Problem set 5 due
14 Economics of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (II): Enrichment Case Study Problem set 6 out
15 Reprocessing and MOX Recycle: Economics and other Considerations Problem set 6 due
16 Nonproliferation, Safeguards, and Export Controls  
17 Proliferation-resistance and Nuclear Energy  
18 Quiz #2  
19 Externalities: Accounting and Regulation  
20 Nuclear Waste Management (I)  
21 Nuclear Waste Management (II)  
22 Risk Perceptions, Communication and Public Attitudes  
23 Future of Nuclear Power  
24 Term Project Presentations  
25 Term Project Presentations   Tell A Friend