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#### Course Description

This course introduces fundamental properties of the neutron. It covers reactions induced by neutrons, nuclear fission, slowing down of neutrons in infinite media, diffusion theory, the few-group approximation, point kinetics, and fission-product poisoning. We emphasize the nuclear physics basis of reactor design and its relationship to reactor engineering problems.

## Syllabus

#### Course Objective

The central problem of reactor physics can be stated quite simply. It is to compute, for any time t, the characteristics of the free-neutron population throughout an extended region of space containing an arbitrary, but known, mixture of materials. Specifically we wish to know the number of neutrons in any infinitesimal volume dV that have kinetic energies between E and E + ΔE and are traveling in directions within an infinitesimal angle of a fixed direction specified by the unit vector Ω.

If this number is known, we can use the basic data obtained experimentally and theoretically from low-energy neutron physics to predict the rates at which all possible nuclear reactions, including fission, will take place throughout the region. Thus we can predict how much nuclear power will be generated at any given time at any location in the region.

#### Textbooks

The text book for this course is:

Lamarsh, John. *Introduction to Nuclear Engineering.* 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001. ISBN: 9780201824988.

This covers basic reactor physics as part of a complete survey of nuclear engineering.

Readings may also be assigned from certain of the books listed below:

Henry, A. F. *Nuclear Reactor Analysis*. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1975. ISBN: 9780262080811.

Shultis, J., and R. Faw. *Fundamentals of Nuclear Science and Engineering*. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, 2002. ISBN: 9780824708344.

Hewitt, G., and J. Collier. *Introduction to Nuclear Power*. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis, 2000. ISBN: 9781560324546.

Turner, J. *Atoms, Radiation, and Radiation Protection*. New York, NY: Pergamon Press, 1986. ISBN: 9780080319377.

Kneif, R. *Nuclear Criticality Safety: Theory and Practice*. American Nuclear Society, 1985. ISBN: 9780894480287.

Knoll, G. *Radiation Detection and Measurement*. New York, NY: Wiley, 2000. ISBN: 9780471073383.

#### Grading Policy

ACTIVITIES | PERCENTAGES |
---|---|

Homework | 20% |

Four exams (20% each; lowest grade is dropped) | 60% |

Final exam (3.0 hours) | 20% |

## Calendar

Lec # | Topics |
---|---|

1 | Introduction/reactor layout and classification |

2 | Chart of nuclides/neutron sources |

3 | Neutron reactions/Boltzman distribution/number density |

4 | Neutron cross-sections |

5 | Binding energy/liquid drop model/fission process |

Tour of MIT research reactor | |

6 | Burners, converters, breeders/neutron life cycle |

7 | Neutron life cycle |

8 | Criticality accidents/why is radiation dangerous |

9 | Neutron flux, reaction rates, current |

10 | One velocity model |

Exam 1 | |

11 | Non-multiplying media |

12 | Multiplying media |

13 | Criticality conditions |

14 | Kinematics of neutron scattering |

15 | Group diffusion method |

16 | Solution of group equations |

Exam 2 | |

17 | Energy dependence of flux |

18 | Group theory/four factor formula |

19 | Reactors of finite size |

20 | Reactors of multiple regions: One group |

21 | Reactors of multiple regions: Two group |

22 | Application of the two-group equations |

23 | Few group and multi-group approaches |

24 | Monte Carlo analysis |

Exam 3 | |

25 | Subcritical multiplication and reactor startup |

26 | Reactor operation without feedback |

27 | Analytic solution of reactor kinetics |

28 | Dynamic period and inhour equation |

29 | Reactor operation with feedback effects |

30 | Achievement of feedback effects/Chernobyl |

Exam 4 | |

31 | Shutdown margin/review of TMI |

Review |