Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session



2.001 Mechanics and Materials I

2.005 Thermal-Fluids Engineering I


22.05 Neutron Science and Reactor Physics (undergraduate) or 22.211 Nuclear Reactor Physics I (graduate)

22.06 Engineering of Nuclear Systems

Course Objective

Understand and model the thermal-hydraulic and mechanical phenomena which are key to the effective, reliable and safe design and operation of nuclear systems.

Course Summary

  1. Introduction to nuclear power systems
  2. Thermal-hydraulics
    • Thermal parameters: Definitions and uses
    • Sources and distribution of thermal loads in nuclear power reactors
    • Conservation equations and their applications to nuclear power systems: Power conversion cycles, containment analysis
    • Thermal analysis of nuclear fuel
    • Single-phase flow and heat transfer
    • Two-phase flow and heat transfer
  3. Structural mechanics
    • Fundamentals of structural mechanics
    • Applications to nuclear systems

Textbook and Readings

The required textbook is Todreas, Neil E., and Mujid S. Kazimi. Nuclear Systems Volume 1: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals. 2nd ed. CRC Press, 2011. ISBN: 9781439808870. [Preview with Google Books] (Revised Printing. CRC Press, July 2015.)

Textbook readings are supplemented by MIT notes on structural mechanics, various handouts, and other references as listed on the readings page.


Homework 20%
Quiz I 20%
Quiz II 20%
Final Exam 40%

Homework and Reading Assignment Practices

  1. Units: You are to conform to recommended engineering practice by using units based on the International System (SI).
  2. In writing your answers is important that you supply enough information to show how you have solved the problem. It is not necessary to repeat derivations already given in enough detail in the text or lectures.
  3. It is considered acceptable for you to work completely independently; consult instructor; and / or work with other students. However, do not adopt your solution directly from any outside source without being sure that you understand both concepts and calculations. Points may be deducted if it appears that you do not understand.
  4. Computer usage: Some homework problems may be solved efficiently using MATLAB®, Mathcad or other computer programs.
  5. Late solutions: Solutions submitted after the due date will receive no more than 50% credit. An all-student relaxation of this rule may be announced in class for some problems.



Course introduction

Reactor types

2 Reactor heat generation

Thermal design principles

Conservation equations


Incompressible fluid, ideal gas and pure substance models

Thermodynamic analysis of nuclear plants: Power cycle examples

5 Thermodynamic analysis of nuclear plants: Containment
6 Thermodynamic analysis of nuclear plants: Containment (cont.)
7 Thermodynamic analysis of nuclear plants: Other examples
8 Thermal analysis of fuel elements: Temperature distributions
9 Thermal analysis of fuel elements: Burnup effects and maximum temperature in the core
10 Quiz 1: In class, open book, all material from Lecture 7
11 Single phase thermal-hydraulics: Introduction
12 Single phase thermal-hydraulics: Fluid dynamics and heat transfer
13 Single phase thermal-hydraulics: Loop analysis, turbulence
14 Two phase flow: Basic parameters and models
15 Two phase flow: Pressure drop and instabilities
16 Two phase flow: Critical flow
17 Two phase heat transfer: Pool boiling
  Quiz 2: Take-home, open book, all material from Lectures 8–13
18 Two phase heat transfer: Flow boiling
19 Two phase heat transfer: Boiling crises and post-boiling-crisis heat transfer
20 Two phase flow and heat transfer: Condensation
21 Two phase flow and heat transfer: In-class demonstrations of flow regimes, instabilities, boiling, natural circulation
22 Structural mechanics: Elasticity fundamentals and thin-shell theory
23 Structural mechanics: Stress categorization and ASME Codes
24 Structural mechanics: Creep, fatigue
  Final exam: 3 hours, open book, covers entire course with specific attention to material of Lectures 13–25