PHYS220 – Physique des Réacteurs Nucléaires I

PHYS-H406 – Nuclear
Reactor Physics
Academic year 2012-2013
Nuclear installations in Belgium
(Source: SPF Economie, AMPERE Commission report)
Detailed installed power in MWe
(Source: World Nuclear Association website, 17/09/2012)
Final shutdown in 2015 (nuclear phaseout law, governmental decision of Summer 2012)
Lifetime extension until 2025 (nuclear phaseout law, governmental decision of Summer 2012)
Temporary(?) shutdown:
revision this summer
microcracks in the reactor vessel detected during the decennial
Nuclear installations in the world
(Source: World Nuclear Association website, 17/09/2012)
Some facts…
• Between 55 and 60% of electricity generation in
Belgium due to the electronuclear channel (not in 2012)
• Law concerning nuclear phase-out still applicable
in Belgium… and already not literally applied for
Tihange 1
• Construction of MYRRHA at the Belgian Nuclear
Research Center (SCK-CEN) in Mol
(expected for 2023)
 Research reactor with a fast spectrum:
accelerator-driven system, both subcritical
and critical configurations possible, cooled
down by a liquid Pb-Bi eutectic, prototype of
a generation-IV reactor
(Source: SCK-CEN Mol)
Some facts… (cont’d)
Even in the assumption of…
+ Dismantling of the Belgian power plants
+ Management of radioactive waste
huge needs in the world nuclear industry of highlyqualified staff
• Despite the Fukushima event, many plants are under
construction or planned, both in neighbouring and
emerging countries (new plants in Finland, EPRs in
France, projects of new constructions in the UK…)
• Few countries took a decision against nuclear energy
after Fukushima (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan
in some way)
• Other applications of nuclear energy beside
electricity generation
And probably …
• Lifetime extension of (some of) the current
Belgian nuclear power plants (lack of
technologically effective or mature alternatives)
• Environmental constraints and climate changes
• Necessary short- and mid-term reflection on the
Belgian and European energy policy
• Ambitious research programs for the
development of new concepts of reactors:
inherently safer, producing less waste and
operationally more flexible (Generation IV)
Objectives of the program in nuclear engineering
• Technical expertise
– Nuclear engineering
 modeling of power plants
For their exploitation (including control/safety)
For research
Contacts with the nuclear industry and research
institutions like e.g. SCK-CEN in Mol
– Ionizing radiations
 dosimetry and radiation protection
• Open-mindedness to the energy
generation issue in a broad sense
The educational program in
Nuclear Engineering at ULB
• PHYS-H406 – Nuclear reactor physics
(3-2-0) – P.E. Labeau
• PHYS-H408 – Operation, control and
safety of nuclear power plants (2-1-0) –
J.J. Van Binnebeek et N. Hollasky (BelV)
Visit of a power
plant (Tihange or
• PHYS-H405 – Physique nucléaire (3-20) – P. Descouvemont
• PHYS-H407 – Métrologie nucléaire (2-04) – N. Pauly
(+ possibly the project)
MA2 – option nuclear engineering
• PHYS-H511 – Advanced topics
in nuclear engineering (1.5-0-1.5)
– P.E. Labeau
• PHYS-H512 – Thermalhydraulics
of nuclear power plants (2-2-0) –
P. Raymond (CEA, France)
• PHYS-H513 – Advanced
reactors and nuclear fuel cycles
(3-0-0) – D. Haas (European
Commission) and P. Baeten
• PHYS-H514 – Reliability and
safety (1.5-1.5-0) – P.E. Labeau
• PHYS-H521 – Complements of
Reliability and Safety (1-1-0) –
P.E. Labeau
Lab sessions (on
research reactors!!) and
seminars at the Belgian
nuclear research center
SCK-CEN in Mol
50% of the lab sessions
using industrial codes in
the GDF Suez-Tractebel
MA2 – option nuclear engineering (cont’d)
• GEST-H506 – Energy Policy and Management (2-0-0) – S.
Furfari (Commission Européenne)
• PHYS-Y017 – Thermal Power Plants and their
Environmental impact (3-0-0) – VUB
• MATH-H507 – Méthodes de Monte Carlo (1-1-0) – A.
• Opportunities of a 3-month, 10-ECTS internship (possibly
• Master thesis (in the faculty or in the nuclear sector)
• Study year at the INSTN (Institut National des Sciences et
Techniques Nucléaires, Commissariat à l’Energie
Atomique)  program called “Génie Atomique” :
 One term of courses (CEA Saclay or Cadarache)
 A second term for the internship (possibly in the USA)
Objectives of this course
Knowing that the energy produced in a nuclear reactor comes
from fissions of heavy nuclei induced by incident neutrons:
 Set up the balance of the neutron population in a reactor,
given all possible interactions between the neutrons and
their environment
 Study solution methods for this balance equation
 Establish under which conditions the fission chain reaction
reaction is self-sustained
… and more generally:
 Study the modeling of particle transport phenomena
 Interpret physically the associated mathematical formalism
Course organisation: 60% theory, 40% exercises
 Lecture notes of R.Beauwens in French (but slight differences) +
Powerpoint files on
 Reference book: Nuclear reactor analysis, J.J. Duderstadt, L.J. Hamilton
(all figures, except if otherwise stated, come from these two references)
 Presentation of a PWR design and operation: (French), (English)
 Calendar of lectures and exercises: see excel file on web page
 Exercises: compulsory!
 One tutorial to be continued as a project with a numerical application 
report assessed by groups of two students
 Mark relative to the tutorials (20% of the final mark IFF success in the
exercises of the exam) = mark of the project reduced proportionally to the
number of absences
 Written exam (th+ex) for the 1st session, oral exam for the 2nd
Course still being modified  comments welcome