Scheda programma d'esame
Anno accademico2021/22
PeriodoPrimo semestre

Obiettivi di apprendimento
Learning outcomes

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The main objective of the course is to give an overall vision of the nuclear technology relating to the existing Nuclear Power Plants. In particular, this course is intended to understand the engineering design of nuclear power plants using the basic principles of reactor physics, thermodynamics, fluid flow and heat transfer.

The student who successfully completes the course will be able to demonstrate a solid knowledge of:

- basic concepts and operating principles of the main nuclear power reactors systems and their safety characteristics;

- configuration and features of nuclear power plants of different generations;

- comparison of PWR, BWR, PHWR and GMR (nuclear power plants of Generation II).

Modalità di verifica delle conoscenze

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Assessment criteria of knowledge

- The student will be assessed on his/her demonstrated ability to discuss the main course contents using the appropriate terminology.

- During the oral exam the student must be able to demonstrate his/her knowledge of the course material and be able to discuss the reading matter thoughtfully and with propriety of expression.

- The student's ability to explain correctly the main topics presented during the course will be assessed.


  • Final oral exam

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The following main skills will be provided by the course:

  • in-depth understanding of the main characteristics about the different NPP of Gen. II;
  • capability to guess quantitatively some basic quantities characterizing the different NPP typologies;
  • capability to recognise the basic safety principles and and their application in different NPPs of Gen. II.


Modalità di verifica delle capacità

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Assessment criteria of skills

Oral examination.


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The course gives to the students the base knowladge about the Nuclear Power Plants characteristics needed in all the other exams foressens in the course.

From the contents of the lessons and the presented materials the students are supposed to start to acquire attitudes typical of "a nuclear engineer" for the problematics about the design of nuclear systems.

Modalità di verifica dei comportamenti

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Assessment criteria of behaviors

The oral interview will accertain the personal attitude by proposing open questions.

Prerequisiti (conoscenze iniziali)

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It is advisable to have passed the exam of “Principi di Ingegneria Nucleare”, even if it is not mandatory.

Indicazioni metodologiche

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Teaching methods

Delivery: face to face

Learning activities:

  • attending lectures
  • individual study

Attendance: Not mandatory

Teaching methods:

  • Lectures
Programma (contenuti dell'insegnamento)

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The course is organized in seven main parts, described in the following.

Part I – General overview of NPPs

NPPs under operation in the world, forthcoming reactors and license renewals, GreenHouse Gas (GHG), emissions for various electricity generation sources, waste generation. Generation costs. Nuclear installations in France and in Italy. Generation of NPPs, classification of nuclear reactors on the base of energy spectrum, purpose, fuel, coolant, moderator, etc.. Typical data characteristic of NPPs.

Part II - Boiling heat transfer and two-phase flow overview

First definitions, homogeneous nucleation, heterogeneous nucleation, pool boiling regimes, pool boiling curve, heat transfer correlations for pool boiling. Flow boiling and two-phase flow: first definitions (void fraction, superficial velocity, flow quality, slip ratio, thermodynamic equilibrium quality and two-phase density). Boiling channel, two-phase flow regimes, flow pattern maps, flooding and flow reversal, heat transfer regimes in the boiling channel, Chen correlation, CHF (DNB and DRYOUT), flow boiling curve, main CHF correlations, Minimum CHFR. Overview of 1D balance equations for two-phase flow, components of pressure drop, friction pressure gradient and two-phase multiplier, pressure drop in a heated boiling channel.

Part III - Pressurized Water Reactors

Short history, reactor coolant system, coolant path inside the vessel, reactor vessel, internals, pressurizer, steam generators, VVER, reactor containment building, coolant pump, nuclear fuel, fuel pin and fuel assembly, control rods, burnable absorbers. Refuelling scheme and spent fuel, reprocessing, nuclear fuel cycle, thermodynamic cycle, steam turbine for NPP, steam condenser. CVCS, RHRS, ECCS, AFWS, CSS, Physical barriers in the defence-in-depth, inherent safety features of a NPP: core under-moderated and over-moderated.

Part IV - Boiling Water Reactors

Short history, Reactor Coolant System, comparison with PWR, recirculation system and jet pumps, Reactor Vessel and internals, fuel assembly, fuel rods, water rods, fuel enrichment, core characteristics, control rods. Reactor containments (dry, Mark I, Mark II and Mark III), comparison between the different containment types. Reactor Water Cleanup System, Standby Liquid Control System, Reactor Core Isolation Cooling, Emergency Core Cooling Systems, RHR System. Short presentation of Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Pat V - Reactivity, reactivity coefficients and fission product effects (about 6 hours)

Short review about the fission process, cross section and effective multiplication factor. Definition of reactivity and conventional unit of measure. Reactivity coefficients: fuel temperature, moderator temperature, void, pressure, power. Reactivity defect. Fission product effect on the reactivity of a NPP: burnup effect.

Part VI - Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors – CANDU

Short history, evolution of CANDU, Heat Transport System, moderator properties and motivation for the separation between coolant and moderator, comparison between CANDU and PWR. Feeder, header, steam generator, primary pump, calandria and core configuration, moderator cooling system, fuel bundle, fuel element, sheath, evolution of CANDU fuel bundle, mining to spent fuel storage, fuel channels arrangement in the calandria, fuelling machine, refuelling and heat flux distribution. Reactivity devices for CANDU 6, shutdown systems. Some safety requirements of the PHT, LOCA event and Emergency Core Cooling System, Reactor Containment. Good and bad features design of CANDU, Nuclear Safety Characteristics, reactivity coefficients.

Pat VII – Graphite-Moderated Reactors

Graphite used as moderator. Short history of GCR. MAGNOX reactors; Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR); High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGR): TRISO fuel, Pebble Bed and Prismatic Reactors, Modular HTGR. RBMK reactors.

Bibliografia e materiale didattico

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Main recommended reading includes: notes personally prepared by the teacher specifically for this course. Further recommended reading includes parts of the following textbooks:

- B. Guerrini, S. Paci, “Appunti di Impianti Nucleari”, Università di Pisa.

- D.G. Cacuci, “Handbook of Nuclear Engineering”, Springer, 2010.

- Knief R. A., “Nuclear Engineering: Theory and Technology of Commercial Nuclear Power”, 2nd ed. La Grange Park, 2008.

- Neil E. Todreas & Mujid S. Kazimi, “Nuclear System I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals”, Taylor & Francis; Revised. edition (settembre 2011).

- J.G. Collier, G. F. Hewitt, “Introduction to Nuclear Power”, Hemisphere, 1987.

Indicazioni per non frequentanti

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Non-attending students info

The teaching material will be available on-line normally before the lectures will be done. Further information and questions can be asked to the teacher by e-mail ( or fixing an appointment.

Modalità d'esame

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Assessment methods

Oral exam. In some cases, a short list of written questions can be assigned to let the student take notes and then discuss with the teachers orally at the beginning of the oral exam.

Altri riferimenti web

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Additional web pages

Google Classroom Web Page that will be communicated at the beginning of the course.

Anyway, a link to Google Classroom will be available in the Class Web Page.


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Teacher e-mail:

Office telephone number of prof. Forgione Nicola: 0502218057

The teacher is available to receive students for solving their learning problems.

Ultimo aggiornamento 16/07/2021 12:46