• Class Number 6139
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Andrew Stuchbery
    • Prof Andrew Stuchbery
    • Anthony Irwin
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

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

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Appreciate the basic principles leading to the formation of uranium and thorium deposits, beginning from the formation of these elements in stellar nucleosynthesis.
  2. 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.
  3. Describe uranium mining methods and nuclear fuel preparation.
  4. Engage in discussion on the environmental radioactivity consequences of uranium mining and minimising environmental impact.
  5. Quantitatively evaluate alternative uranium enrichment technologies.
  6. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of once through versus closed nuclear fuel cycles.
  7. Engage in critical debate on nuclear waste disposal options.
  8. Describe physical and chemical methods to analyse nuclear material and appraise the use of such methods in nuclear safeguards and forensics.
  9. Assess the roles of the IAEA, government policy, and national or other regulators in relation to nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Course introductionFuel Cycle OverviewNucleosynthesis 6 Assisgnments from lectures due week 6.Research essay due week 7.
2 Uranium Resources and Mining Environmental Monitoring and U Mining
3 Conversion Enrichment
4 Fuel Fabrication Transport and Interim Fuel Storage
5 Fuel Cycle Chemistry Reprocessing and Radioactive Waste Management
6 Radioactive Waste Facilities Thorium and Advanced Fuel Cycles Assignments and course review

Tutorial Registration

Please refer to the PHYS8205 Wattle page for the scheduled lectures and labs

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Lab Work 20 % 02/10/2023 06/10/2023 1,2,4,8
Research Essay 40 % 18/09/2023 22/09/2023 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
Problem Sets 40 % 26/08/2023 01/09/2023 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


This course will run as a face-to- face intensive for week 2. This will include lectures and laboratory work.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 06/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,8

Lab Work

Written Lab reports for 3 tasks as outlined on the Course Wattle page.

Due: week 9

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 18/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 22/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

Research Essay

Assessment details sub headings

Write a research essay on a fuel cycle topic.

The subject of the essay must be agreed with Andrew Stuchbery and Tony Irwin.

2,000 words. Provide references.

Due: Week 7

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 26/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 01/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

Problem Sets

Excercises from Lectures. Choose 6 of the questions posted on the course Wattle page and submit 2 pages per question.

Due Week 6


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned by email to the lecturers.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Andrew Stuchbery

Research Interests

Prof Andrew Stuchbery

By Appointment
Prof Andrew Stuchbery

Research Interests

Prof Andrew Stuchbery

By Appointment
Anthony Irwin

Research Interests

Anthony Irwin


Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions