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NE 267

Course Title: 
Risk-Informed Design for Advanced Nuclear Systems
Course Units: 
3
Catalog Description: 
  • Project-based class for design and licensing of nuclear facilities, including advanced reactors.  Elements of a project proposal.  Regulatory framework and use of deterministic and probabilistic licensing criteria.  Siting criteria.  External and internal events.  Identification and analysis of design basis and beyond design basis events.  Communication with regulators and stakeholders.  Ability to work in and contribute to a design team.
Course Prerequisite: 
  • Completion of at least two upper-division engineering courses providing relevant skills: ChemE 150A, ChemE 180, CE 111, CE 120, CE152, CE 166, CE 175, E 120, IEOR 166, IEOR 172, ME 106, ME 109, ME 128, ME 146, NE 120, NE 124, NE 150, NE 161
Prerequisite Knowledge and/or Skills: 
  • Knowledge gained in upper-division undergraduate engineering classes sufficient to contribute productively to a design team to develop a business case and a Safety Analysis Report (SAR) for an advanced nuclear facility.
Course Objectives: 
  • Introduce students to the safety principles and methods used to design, construct and operate a safe nuclear facility, for a specific site and application.
  • Introduce students to the regulatory requirements for design, construction and operation of nuclear facilities licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • Provide a basic understanding of similarities and differences in regulation of nuclear facilities versus other technologies (biotech, commercial aviation, commercial space launch, civil infrastructure).
  • Provide a basic understanding the risk-informed design process and an opportunity to experience contributing in a focused area to a design project.
  • Provide students with experiential knowledge in the preparation and evaluation a Safety Analysis Report for meeting USNRC regulatory requirements, including response to Requests for Additional Information (RAIs).
  • Provide students with experiential knowledge in communication with the business community, the public, nongovernmental organizations, and safety regulators.
  • Provide students with experiential knowledge in developing schedules, allocating work responsibilities, and working in teams.
  • Introduce students to the methods and models for event identification, accident analysis, and risk assessment and management for internally and externally initiated events.
Course Outcomes: 
  • Develop a broad understanding of safety principles and methods used in design, construction and licensing of nuclear facilities.
  • Develop a broad understanding of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulatory requirements for nuclear facilities.
  • Have awareness of key similarities and differences in regulation of nuclear facilities versus other technologies  (biotech, commercial aviation, commercial space launch, civil infrastructure).
  • Have awareness of the major topics covered in a Safety Analysis Report (SAR) and experience in developing and writing at least one element of a SAR.
  • Have developed experience and skills in communication with the business community, the public, and regulators.
  • Have developed experience and skills in establishing a project schedule, allocating work responsibilities, and working in teams.
  • Have understanding of application of event identification, event frequency and consequence analysis, risk assessment and management for internally and externally initiated events in the design process.
Topics Covered: 
  1. Safety philosophy, safety goals, defense in depth, deterministic and probabilistic assessment
  2. Reactor systems, reactor dynamics and reactor control.
  3. The USNRC regulatory process, Code of Federal Regulations 10CFR Parts 50, 52, 100, General Design Criteria, Regulatory Guides, industry codes and standards.
  4. Design aspects: redundancy and diversity and engineered safety features; safety classification of systems, structures and components (SSCs).
  5. System lifecycle:  design, manufacture, construction, testing, operation, maintenance, modification
  6. Safety analysis, internal vs. external events, event identification, design basis events, beyond design basis events.
  7. External events: earthquakes, flooding, fires and tornadoes.
  8. Risk assessment, event and fault trees, best-estimate plus uncertainty
  9. Risk management inside the design basis:  reliability engineering, corrective action programs, safety culture, emergency operating procedures.
  10. Risk management outside the design basis:  extensive damage mitigation guidelines, severe accident management guidelines, offsite emergency response.
  11. Case studies.
Textbook(s) and/or Other Required Materials: 
  • Web-based materials and a course reader are available prior to each offering.
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 
  • This is a lecture course and meets two times a week for 90 minutes.
Contribution of Course to Meeting the Professional Component: 
  • This course provides students with the opportunity to develop a design for a civil nuclear facility using engineering standards and constraints that include the following considerations: economic; environmental; ethical; health and safety; and social.
Relationship of Course to Degree Program Objectives: 
  • This course provides students an opportunity to apply fundamental principals in mathematics and natural science to a practical nuclear engineering involving the design and licensing of a complex nuclear facility.
  • This course provides students an opportunity to design an integrated and complex nuclear system subject to realisitic economic, regulatory, and social constraints.
  • This course provides students an opportunity to practice leadership and teamwork across disciplines.
  • This course provides opportunities to develop skills for effective oral, graphic and written communication.
  • This course provides opportunities to understand social, safety and environmental impacts of civil nuclear technologies, and the regulatory framework that these facilities operate in.
  • This course provides opportunities and case studies to understand professional and ethical responsibilities in the design, construction, and operation of civil nuclear faciltiies.
Assessment of Student Progress Toward Course Objectives: 
  • Project proposal presentation:  10%
  • Homework problem sets (4 assignments; one per module): 10%
  • Mock USNRC preapplication presentation: 10%
  • Mock Public Meeting presentation: 10%
  • Classroom participation as mock intervener and/or USNRC staff:  10%
  • System design overview and safety analysis presentation to mock USNRC Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) panel:  25%
  • Term project: System Safety Analysis Report:  25%
  • Note:  Evaluation of presentations and reports is weighted 75% on individual contribution; 25% on overall team performance.