Nuclear Energy and The Nuclear Fuel Cycle (SC4101)


Course outline

This module aims to provide students with:

•            knowledge of the historical development of nuclear power and an overview of legacy issues

•            an overview of the current civil nuclear industry and its contribution to energy production, setting it in the context of social, economic, health, environmental and political drivers; and future demands

•            knowledge of the key concepts in nuclear science and technology that impact on safety, security and safeguards

•            knowledge of the main components of a reactor and understanding of how reactor and fuel types influence safety, security and safeguards

•            an appreciation of how nuclear accidents have influenced public and industry perception of nuclear power and have helped to shape Society’s attempts to Regulate the nuclear industry

•            an introduction to nuclear safety, nuclear security and nuclear safeguards cultures and understanding of the primary sources/causes that give rise to safety, security and safeguards provision in a nuclear facility 


Credit Value



Course content

•        Overview of the fuel cycle

•        Mining and milling of uranium

•        Purification and conversion to UF6

•        Uranium enrichment

•        Fuel fabrication

•        Main components of reactor and fuel types

•        Properties of irradiated fuel

•        Irradiated fuel transport and storage

•        Nuclear fuel reprocessing

•        Recycling of uranium and plutonium

•        Decommissioning, retrieval and disposal of nuclear waste

•        Nuclear accidents and nuclear regulations

•        Nuclear safety, nuclear security and nuclear safeguards cultures

•        Emerging fuel technologies


 Learning outcome

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

•            Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the historical development of civil nuclear power programmes and evaluate the future need for nuclear power.

•            Discuss the biological effects of different radiation doses on man, relating them to the cells affected, and evaluate methods of protecting people from the harmful effects of radiation.

•            Explain or debate how learning derived from nuclear accidents and/or experience of operating nuclear facilities gave rise to safety concerns, resulting in improved safety provision in the civil nuclear industry

•            Critically evaluate the main components and systems in nuclear power plant and/or associated fuel cycle facilities to derive the primary sources of safety, security and safeguards concerns; and explain or debate how society has responded to those concerns


Method of delivery

The majority of teaching is undertaken in intensive mode within a single (pulse) attendance of one week duration.  The course lectures are delivered by both academic staff from UCLan and by practitioners from industry in the various subject areas. This allows the students to understand the theory and see how it is applied in practice. The students are supplied with pre-course learning and during the course are provided with short tutorial and discussion sessions where they can test their understanding. Further references are provided with the lectures.


Location of study

UCLan Preston campus


Start Date

12th November 2018 (one week duration)


Maximum number of ANNETTE participants



Course enquiries

Dr Jonathan Francis

PL / Head of John Tyndall Institute

Academic Lead for Energy, Fire & Sustainability

School of Engineering,

Computing and Technology Building, CM023

University of Central Lancashire

Preston, PR1 2HE



Tel: +44(0) 1772 89 3229