Advanced courses on
the nuclear fuel cycle

Prof. Christophe Bruggeman – Université de Liège
Prof. Hubert Druenne – 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.

Learning Outcomes

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.

Course material and reference books

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

Pre-assumed knowledge or prerequisites

Courses in the following field

  • Nuclear energy: introduction
  • Nuclear fuel cycle (compulsory courses)

Grading and examination

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.