Nuclear Fuel Cycle (SC4111)


Course outline

UCLan’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle module describes the nuclear fuel cycle and examines in detail, the technical, economical, safety and environmental issues involved during each stage. The module covers the entire cycle from the extraction of ore to the disposal of waste. The processes involved in reprocessing of fuel are examined and the consequences reprocessing has, in terms of reactor fuel design and waste disposal, are discussed. Each stage is described on an international scale examining global markets and capacities.


Credit Value

7.5 ECTS


Course content

• Overview of the fuel cycle

• Mining and milling of uranium

• Purification and conversion to UF6

• Uranium enrichment

• Fuel fabrication

• Properties of irradiated fuel

• Irradiated fuel transport and storage

• Nuclear fuel reprocessing

• Recycling of uranium and plutonium

• Decommissioning, retrieval and disposal of nuclear waste

• Emerging fuel technologies


 Learning outcome

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

• A full understanding of all the processes involved in the front- and back-ends of the once-through fuel cycle.


• An understanding of fuel reprocessing and the advantages reprocessing can provide.


• An appreciation of the safety and environmental considerations involved in the cycle.


• An overview of the nuclear fuel cycle for commercial purposes and how it has been affected by historic events.


• Knowledge of the worldwide capacities and economical markets involved in the cycle as well as an appreciation of political influence.


• Ability to perform some calculations around the economics of the fuel cycle.


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