FUNDAMENTALS OF NUCLEAR ENGINEERING FOR ASTRONAUTICS

Credits: 9

Learning objectives
The Course will provide the basics necessary to physical understanding of nuclear energy systems and radiation protection. The main objectives are (a) knowledge of benefits and key aspects of engineering, technology and safety associated with the ' nuclear energy use in space applications, (b) identification of the main features of the systems of nuclear power generation , and of  the  connected systems for conversion and propulsion, (c) knowledge of the state of the international research and perspectives of nuclear energy use for space applications . The Course is organized as follows:
Fundamentals: Physics of nuclear reactions: radioactive decay, sources of radiation, interaction of ionizing radiation with matter, nuclear reactions. Physics of nuclear fission: neutron flux, impact Sections, Fast neutrons and thermal neutrons, the slowdown, the moderators, the resonances of capture, burn - up. The nuclear fusion reactions. Basic concepts of radiation protection: Unit Radioactivity, dosimetry, the Environmental Radioactivity, Radiation Effects on humans, protection systems, exposure limits.
Nuclear energy for Space Applications: advantages over other energy sources. Nuclear energy generators. Engineering and technological aspects of the Space Applications of Nuclear Power: shielding of Radiation Heat Transfer, Materials. Elements of Physics Reactor. Nuclear fission reactors configurations for onboard needs and size. The Nuclear Safety in the different stages of a Space Mission. Nuclear Energy perspectives in peaceful applications.
Systems for Nuclear Power Generation and Propulsion: Classification of systems. Systems of radioisotopes. Conceptual projects of Nuclear Reactors. Static ( thermoelectric and thermoionic ) and Dynamic ( Bryton , Rankine , Stirling , magnetohydrodynamic ) conversion systems. Reactors with solid, liquid and gas kernel. Fuels. Heat tubes reactor. Electro-nuclear propulsion systems. Thermo-nuclear propulsion systems. Advanced Systems. The International Space Nuclear Programs .