Physics of fission reactors

Nuclear Engineering, Second Cycle
1. year
Hours per week – 1. semester:

Enrollment into the program.
Positive grade from mid-term exams (or final written exam) and all seminars done are required to participate the oral exam.

Content (Syllabus outline)

Nuclear reactions with neutrons and fission, characteristics of the cross-sections for the most important nuclides.
Prompt and delayed neutrons, fission products.
Chain reaction and multiplication factor.
Boltzmann equation for neutron transport in a matter.
Diffusion approximation and its validity.
Time-independent cases, non-fissile and fissile agent.
Slowing down the neutrons in the moderator, resonant absorption, thermalisation.
Solving the time-dependent transport and diffusion equations, the derivation of point kinetics equations.
Linear kinetics of the reactor and control over the chain reaction.
Feedback effects on the reactivity and non-linear kinetics.


Osnovni učbenik/Base textbook:
Hamilton-Duderstadt, Nuclear reactor analysis, John Wiley and Sons, New York
Izbrana poglavja iz učbenikov/Selected chapters from textbooks:
Klimov, Nuclear physics and nuclear reactors, Mir publishers, Moscow
Barjon, Physique des reacteurs nucleaires, Institut des sciences nucleaires, Grenoble
Emendoerfer-Hoecker, Theorie der Kernreaktoren I, II, Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim
Henry, Nuclear reactor analysis, The MIT Press, Cambridge. Massachusetts. and London. England

Objectives and competences

To get theoretical and practical knowledge that is needed to understand and master processes in the fission nuclear reactor.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Understanding of the physical processes that take place in a nuclear reactor during operation, the knowledge of how to use physical models and analytical methods for the determination of key parameters of the reactor (multiplication factor, kinetic constants, the distribution of fission density).
Direct application of knowledge in working with nuclear reactors, the basis for the acquisition of additional knowledge of reactor kinetics and physics of fuel management in nuclear devices.
Application of theoretical mathematical approach to solve real physical problems in the planning and operating the reactor.
Transferable skills:
Detailed knowledge of nuclear fission and capture reactions, the use of analytical methods for solving elliptic differential equations, knowledge of numerical methods for solving differential equations of second order.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, homeworks, seminars, consultations, lab works on reactor TRIGA.


Written exam
Oral exam
grading: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (according to the Statute of UL)

Lecturer's references

Andrej Trkov:
1) TRKOV, Andrej, ŽEROVNIK, Gašper, DESTOUCHES, Christophe, BOURGANEL, Stephane, GREGOIRE, G., GIRARD, Jean Michel. Self-shielding factor calculations of heterogeneous samples in activation measurements for neutron spectrum unfolding. Nucl. Eng. Des.. [Print ed.], 2012, vol. 246, str. 69-74.
2) SNOJ, Luka, TRKOV, Andrej, JAĆIMOVIĆ, Radojko, ROGAN, Petra, ŽEROVNIK, Gašper, RAVNIK, Matjaž. Analysis of neutron flux distribution for the validation of the computational methods for the optimization of research reactor utilization. Appl. radiat. isotopes. [Print ed.], 2011, vol. 69, issue 1, str. 136-141.
3) TRKOV, Andrej, CAPOTE, R., SOUKHOVITSKII, E., LEAL, L.C., SIN, M., KODELI, Ivan Aleksander, MUIR, D.W.đ. Covariances of evaluated nuclear cross section data for [sup]232Th, [sup]180,[sup]182,[sup]183,[sup]184,[sup]186W and [sup]55Mn. Nucl. data sheets (N.Y. N.Y.), 2011, iss. 12, vol. 112, str. 3098-3119.

Luka Snoj
1. SNOJ, Luka, TRKOV, Andrej, RAVNIK, Matjaž, ŽEROVNIK, Gašper. Testing of cross section libraries on zirconium benchmarks. Ann. nucl. energy. [Print ed.], 2012, vol. 42, str. 71-79.
2. SNOJ, Luka, ŽEROVNIK, Gašper, TRKOV, Andrej. Computational analysis of irradiation facilities at the JSI TRIGA reactor. Appl. radiat. isotopes. [Print ed.], 2012, vol. 70, str. 483-488.
3. JET EFDA Contributors, SNOJ, Luka, TRKOV, Andrej, LENGAR, Igor, POPOVICHEV, Sergei, CONROY, S., SYME, B. Calculations to support JET neutron yield calibration : Neutron scattering in source holder. Fusion eng. des.., 2012, iss. 11, vol. 87, str. 1846-1852.