Nuclear Energy: Science, Systems and Society
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assignment Level : Introductive
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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Key information

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verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 88 hours in total

About the content

Nuclear Energy: Science, Systems and Society offers an introduction to the basic physics of nuclear energy and radiation, with an emphasis on the unique attributes and challenges of nuclear energy as a low-carbon solution. Peaceful applications of ionizing radiation to help humankind, such as reactors for materials science research, nuclear medicine, and security initiatives, will be introduced.

The course will explore fission energy, establishing the scientific, engineering, and economic basis for fission reactors, and will describe the state of the art in nuclear reactor technology.

We will also learn about magnetic fusion energy research, with lectures covering the scientific and engineering basis of tokamaks, the state of the art in world fusion experiments, and the MIT vision for high-magnetic field fusion reactor.

In addition, the course also includes an optional hands-on section using guided exercises available on-line.

As a preview, please enjoy this virtual tour of the MIT Reactor!

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Image Source: http://sciencestockphotos.com/free/electrical/slides/radioactive_smoke_detector.html, Image by http://sciencestockphotos.com

Learners will be able to critically assess questions such as;

  • "What are common and not-so-common sources of radiation, and should I be concerned?"
  • "Can nuclear energy help to solve the climate change problem?"
  • "Is nuclear energy cost competitive?"
  • "Do I want a nuclear power plant in my backyard?"
  • "What is the basic idea behind fusion energy and how viable are proposed paths to develop fusion reactors?"
  • "How much radiation exists around me?"

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Prerequisite

Familiarity with high school level calculus is desirable, but not required.

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Syllabus

Module 1: Introduces the basics of ionizing radiation - what it is, where it comes from, and how it is used to benefit humanity. We specifically focus on the origins and energetics of ionizing radiation, and quantify what radiation dose is, where it comes from, and how much people can safely tolerate with no adverse effects.

Module 2: Will articulate attributes and challenges of nuclear energy as a commercial source of electric power. Will focus on potential contribution of nuclear energy to decarbonization of the power sector, including discussion of nuclear power plant economics and safety. A few innovations in nuclear energy systems will be described.

Module 3: Will cover the basics of nuclear fusion, including fundamental plasma physics concepts needed to understand the prospects for development of magnetic confinement fusion. Innovation and future directions will be described.

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Instructors

Jacopo Buongiorno
TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Anne White
Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor in Nuclear Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael Short
Class ’42 Career Development Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John Parsons
Senior Lecturer, Finance Group at MIT Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

R. Scott Kemp
Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and Director of the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Paola Cappellaro
Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Content designer

MIT

MIT is a world-class educational institution where teaching and research — with relevance to the practical world as a guiding principle — continue to be its primary purpose.

MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. Its five schools and one college encompass numerous academic departments, divisions and degree-granting programs, as well as interdisciplinary centers, laboratories and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries.

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Edx

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