Host department: Chemical Engineering

Time slot: PM

Who can study this module: Open to Y4 from Materials.


FHEQ Level: 7

How to apply: Via DSS

August resit opportunity: Yes

Approximate places available to students from other departments: 35

Historic number of applications from students of other departments: 2

Criteria used to select students: First come, first assigned a place

Nuclear Chemical Engineering

Module aims

This module aims to introduce the chemical engineering aspects related to the Nuclear industry and especially the nuclear fuel cycle. Through reading, lectures, problem solving and class debates, students will gain a broad understanding of the nuclear fuel cycle and be able to work through problems related to mass and energy balances in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you should be able to:
• Describe the main chemical engineering processes associated with nuclear energy
• Evaluate the effectiveness of uranium extraction and separation systems using liquid-liquid extraction and ion exchange, and analyse their performance by carrying out calculations
• Describe enrichment technologies and perform calculations on number of stages required.
• Summarise the main aspects of radiation chemistry as they relate to nuclear chemical engineering and nuclear safety
• Explain nuclear fuel production with reference to uranium hydrometallurgy, fuel fabrication and production
• Explain the differences between nuclear reactor concepts, and assess the chemical behaviour of coolants in nuclear reactors and the chemical engineering processes associated with controlling this behaviour.
• Evaluate the chemical engineering aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle and the options available for dealing with spent fuel.
• Describe the principles of nuclear fuel reprocessing and the application of these principles in reprocessing operations
• Review the challenges and processes involved in the long term disposal of nuclear waste and of decommissioning nuclear plant.

Module syllabus

• Overview of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
• Solvent (Liquid-Liquid) Extraction
• Ion exchange
• Radiation chemistry
• Uranium production technology
• Isotope separation and enrichment
• Fuel production and utilization
• Introduction to Nuclear Reactors
• Fuel reprocessing
• Waste management and decommissioning


No previous basic knowledge of the topics covered is assumed.

Teaching methods

You will be introduced to some topics through lectures, supported by technology (PowerPoint, Panopto
and Blackboard). This module uses a blended learning approach. Students will be given pre-class learning
materials to read/review prior to class, which will then be integrated into the class learning activities. A
discussion board on Blackboard will facilitate student-lecturer and student-student interactions.


Both summative and formative assessments will be used to demonstrate that you have met the intended
learning outcomes. This module is assessed summatively through an end of year exam. You will be supported
through formative assessment by problem sheets which you are required to work on in your own time as part of
your independent study. Model solutions are provided to you via Blackboard.