Undergraduate Teaching 2017-18

Engineering Tripos Part IIB, 4I11: Advanced Fission and Fusion System, 2017-18

Engineering Tripos Part IIB, 4I11: Advanced Fission and Fusion System, 2017-18

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Module Leader

Dr E Shwageraus


Dr E Shwageraus, Mr A Roulstone

Timing and Structure

Lent term. 16 lectures, 4 examples papers, 2 examples classes in support of coursework. Assessment: 100% coursework




The aims of the course are to:

  • provide an understanding of advanced systems, why they are being pursued, what are their advantages and their difficulties in becoming commercially viable designs.


Further aims:

  • What are the factors that are driving the development of advanced systems?
  • Overview of fast reactor development & Gen IV reactor systems, including accelerator driven sub-critical reactors;
  • Introduce the principles of fusion energy physics and the current status of research;
  • Explain how the principles of fusion energy are to be applied for the design of future fusion energy systems;
  • Re-cycle fuel studies, including reprocessing and re-fabrication;
  • Status, issues and what would be needed to bring advanced reactor systems to a commercial standard with safety and economics as good as current Generation III+ designs

Fission Systems

  • Design objectives, drivers & alternatives (2l)
  • Advanced Thermal systems – example high temperature gas reactor(2l)
  • Fast Spectrum Reactor systems – including external Dr A Judd(4l)
  • Transmutation and Advanced Fuel cycles (2l)

Fusion Systems

Introduction & Physics of fusion systems - Dr C. Roach CCFE (2l)

  • Fusion reactions: cross sections and reactivity
  • Magnetic and inertial approaches to fusion
  • Equilibrium, transport, instabilities and power balance

Physics & Materials - Dr M. Fleming CCFE (2l)

  • Heating systems and current drive
  • Layout of a fusion power plant
  • Fusion reactor components and materials requirements

Performance Safety and Design Dr M. Fleming CCFE (2l)

  • Safety of a fusion
  • Radiological hazards and waste products
  • Fusion in the market and timescale to fusion
  • Designing a fusion power plant

Examples papers

- Thermal reactor systems (High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors)

- Fast Reactors

- Fusion: plasma physics and reactor engineering



Due date

Coursework #1

Group project (3-4 students) researching into a particular advanced reactor design.

This part will be assessed by a group presentation to the rest of the class.

The presentations will be scheduled at a convenient time outside the normal lectures schedule.  

Learning objective:

  • Research in depth one of the advanced reactor systems
  • Familiarise with a broad range of advanced systems, their strengths and weaknesses

Group project, (33%)

15 min presentation

3 weeks preparation

Due date: 21 February

Coursework #2

Fast reactor transient analysis using provided computer models.

This part of coursework will be preceded by an examples class, where these models will be introduced and demonstrated.

Learning objective:

  • Understand fundamentals of fast reactors transient behaviour and safety

Computational lab, (33%)

Individual report

2 weeks preparation

Due date: 28 February

Coursework #3

Problem set on advanced fission reactors, plasma physics and fusion technology.

Learning objective:

  • Understand fundamentals of fusion power systems physics and engineering

Marked example paper, (33%)


2 weeks preparation

Due date: 16 March



Please see the Booklist for Group I Courses for references for this module.

Examination Guidelines

Please refer to Form & conduct of the examinations.

Last modified: 15/01/2018 00:53