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Advanced courses on the nuclear fuel cycle

Prof. Christophe Bruggeman – Université de Liège
Prof. Kevin Govers – Université de Liège


81 hours study time

  • 30 contact hours theory
  • 0 contact hours exercises/laboratory sessions/visits
  • 0 hours additional personal work (reading etc.)

  • These advanced courses are complementary to the compulsory courses on the Nuclear fuel cycle, and will either deepen certain topics, or treat specific topics of high importance.

  • MOX and Th fuel

    • To get a global understanding of the utilization of Pu and Th based fuel in light water reactors:
    • The challenges of the U-Pu-MOX fuel regarding the fuel fabrication, the core and fuel neutronic aspects and fuel behaviour
    • The Th-Pu-MOX used in LWR for its breeding capabilities, or more realistically as matrix for Pu utilization.

    Radiochemistry and Dismantling

    • To get an understanding of radiochemistry, as it is a basic discipline to understand the various stages and activities in the nuclear fuel cycle, including the safe disposal of the radioactive waste.
    • To get acquainted with the principles and practice of dismantling and decommissioining of nuclear materials, as this is becoming an activity of increasing importance in nuclear engineering.
  • MOX and Th fuel

    • Overview of Th based fuel: physical properties of Pu and Th, main fuel design options
    • Pu-MOX fuel fabrication (MIMAS process) and fuel rod thermal-mechanical behaviour under irradiation
    • Pu-MOX impact on reactivity coefficients and safety issues 
    • Th-MOX impact on reactivity coefficients and overview of the possible safety issues


    • Applied radiochemistry (complementary to the course under "Nuclear Fuel cycle"): chemical process technology: radiochemical separation techniques, radiochemical analysis, production of radionuclides
    • Radionuclide migration through a clay host rock – geochemistry and underlying phenomena: impact on the Safety Case; geochemistry in Boom Clay; role of organic matter; radionuclide speciation, sorption and transport; modelling.

    Dismantling, decommissioning

    • Introduction: definitions, objectives, levels, regulatory aspects, radioprotection, ALARA
    • Radionuclide inventory, characterization and measurements
    • Strategy for decontamination of buildings, concrete pieces and structures, metals
    • Dismantling of a nuclear reactor (the BR3 case): the experience, materials management
    • Other types of installations to be decommissioned, REX from other projects
    • Strategies and planning of decommissioning
    • Safety aspects

    The courses will be completed with exercises.

  • The PowerPoint presentations of the lectures are available on the BNEN website.

  • Courses in the following field

    • Nuclear energy: introduction
    • Nuclear fuel cycle (compulsory courses)
  • MOX and Th fuel

    First and second session: closed book written examination (MCQ complemented by open justification)

    Radiochemistry and Dismantling

    First and second session: closed book oral examination; written preparation.

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