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2009-2011 Courses and Programs

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Nuclear Engineering

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Minor administered by Mechanical Engineering

The nuclear engineering undergraduate minor allows engineering students to acquire a formal background in nuclear engineering topics that will not only benefit them, but also fulfill a societal need for future hiring of engineers. Through this program, students can enroll in a formal minor that enables them to acquire a basic and fundamental knowledge of nuclear sciences and engineering, thus enabling them to pursue employment in any one of a number of fields associated with the construction, operation or regulation of nuclear power generation.

Students completing this minor acquire a body of knowledge in the fundamentals of nuclear science and engineering. The required courses selected ensures that all graduates of the nuclear engineering minor obtain a minimum body of knowledge in nuclear science and engineering that would allow them to apply their specialized field of engineering knowledge to nuclear-related applications, such as nuclear plant and site construction, nuclear power plant operations, nuclear safety and radiation protection.

The supporting courses that are listed in this program provide an opportunity for students to build upon the knowledge gained in the required courses by taking either more advanced courses or more specialized courses dealing with specific areas of nuclear engineering.

Undergraduate Study

Students interested in completing the nuclear engineering minor must be enrolled in the College of Engineering at Iowa State University. They should complete and submit the "Request for Minor" form. The selection process is based on approval by the administering department, Mechanical Engineering.

The course requirements for the undergraduate minor in nuclear engineering are: Required courses (9 credits) - Nuc E 401, 3 cr., Nuc E 402, 3 cr., and Nuc E 405, 3 cr.; Supporting courses (select two for 6 credits) - Nuc E 410, 3 cr., Nuc E 411, 3 cr. Nuc E 490, 3 cr., or M E 433, 3 cr. The minor must include at least nine credits which are beyond the total used to meet curriculum requirements for the bachelors degree in engineering.

Interinstitutional Program: Contact: Gregory Maxwell

Participating Faculty: Iowa State University:Gregory Maxwell (, Carolyn Heising, (; Kansas State University: William Dunn, ( Kenneth Shultis, (; University of Missouri Columbia: Mark Prelas, (; Texas A&M University: Raymond Juzaitis, (; University of Texas at Austin: Sheldon Landsberger, (

Nuclear engineering courses are provided through an inter-institutional distance education program offered through the Web. Some of the courses that comprise this minor are offered at Iowa State University, while others are offered through four of the Big 12 Engineering Consortium universities that have formal nuclear engineering departments or programs. The four universities offering an assortment of nuclear engineering courses via web-based distance education are Texas A & M (TAMU), the University of Missouri Columbia (UMC), Kansas State University (KSU) and the University of Texas at Austin (UTA).

Courses primarily for undergraduate students

Nuc E 401. Nuclear Radiation Theory and Engineering. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.Prereq: Phys 222, Math 266 or 267. Atomic and nuclear physics. Radioactivity and reaction rates. Cross sections. Introduction to neutron diffusion theory. Engineering applications of radiation theory. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Nuc E 402. Nuclear Reactor Engineering. (3-0) Cr. 3. S.Prereq: 401. WWW only. Fission and chain reactions. Neutron diffusion and moderation. Reactor equations. Fermi Age theory. Multigroup and multiregional analysis.

Nuc E 405. Radiation Protection and Shielding. (3-0) Cr. 3.Prereq: 401. WWW only. Basic principles and concepts of radiation protection and design: dosimetric units and response functions, hazards of radiation dose, radiation sources, basic methods for dose evaluation, and shielding design techniques for photons and neurons.

Nuc E 410. Nuclear Reactor Theory. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.Prereq: 405. WWW only. An introduction to neutron diffusion theory, neutron moderation, conditions for criticality of nuclear reactors.

Nuc E 411. Nuclear Reactor Analysis. (3-0) Cr. 3. S.Prereq: 410. WWW only. Group diffusion method. Multiregion reactors, heterogeneous reactors. Reactor kinetics, changes in reactivity.

Nuc E 490. Independent Study. Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.Prereq: Junior Classification. Investigation of nuclear engineering topics. Election of course and topic must be approved in advance by supervising faculty.