- Code PHYS8205
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Research School of Physics
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Physics
- Areas of interest Physics
- Academic career PGRD
- Prof Andrew Stuchbery
- Mode of delivery In Person
Second Semester 2023
See Future Offerings
This course will cover:
• The nucleosynthesis of U and Th, and subsequent distribution of these elements through terrestrial reservoirs.
• Changes in the geochemical behaviour of U consequent to the oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere and the formation of different types of U deposits.
• Development of natural reactors, their detection, and the mobility of decay products.
• The use of parent-daughter U-Pb and Th-Pb decay schemes in determining the age of the Earth and other objects in the Solar System, and tracing recycling of U through the Earth.
• Uranium requirements and resources
• Uranium mining methods, milling, and environmental monitoring related to uranium mines and mill tailings
• Processing, conversion and enrichment of uranium; separative work units (SWU)
• Fabrication of nuclear fuel rods
• Fuel utilization: energy production and burnup
• Handling, storage and disposal of spent fuel, including transport regulations for nuclear material
• Reprocessing and use of mixed-oxide fuel (MOX)
• Physical and chemical characterization of nuclear material for safeguards and forensics• Policy issues and proliferation concerns, including the role of the IAEA and national regulatory bodies in safeguarding the nuclear fuel cycle
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Appreciate the basic principles leading to the formation of uranium and thorium deposits, beginning from the formation of these elements in stellar nucleosynthesis.
- Understand and apply the principles of radioactive decay for solving problems of evolution of U/Pb and Th/Pb systems and ages of rocks and minerals.
- Describe uranium mining methods and nuclear fuel preparation.
- Engage in discussion on the environmental radioactivity consequences of uranium mining and minimising environmental impact.
- Quantitatively evaluate alternative uranium enrichment technologies.
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of once through versus closed nuclear fuel cycles.
- Engage in critical debate on nuclear waste disposal options.
- Describe physical and chemical methods to analyse nuclear material and appraise the use of such methods in nuclear safeguards and forensics.
- Assess the roles of the IAEA, government policy, and national or other regulators in relation to nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation.
- • Lab work (20) [LO 1,2,4,8]
- • Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]
- • Problem sets (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]
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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:
• Face-to face component which may consist of a week-long intensive program which will include lectures and laboratory work.
• Approximately 100 hours of self directed study which will include essay preparation and submission.
To be determined
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- 6 units
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