Nuclear engineering

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Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the application of breaking down atomic nuclei (fission) or of combining atomic nuclei (fusion), or with the application of other sub-atomic processes based on the principles of nuclear physics. In the sub-field of nuclear fission, it particularly includes the design, interaction, and maintenance of systems and components like reactors, power plants, or weaponry. The field also includes the study of medical and other applications of radiation, particularly Ionizing radiation, nuclear safety, heat/thermodynamics transport, nuclear fuel, or other related technology (e.g.,  radioactive waste disposal) and the problems of nuclear proliferation. This field also includes chemical engineering and electrical engineering. [1]


Professional areas

The United States currently generates about 20% of its electricity from nuclear power plants. Nuclear engineers in this field generally work, directly or indirectly, in the nuclear power industry or for national laboratories. [2] Current research in the industry is directed at producing economical and proliferation-resistant reactor designs with passive safety features. Some government (national) labs provide research in the same areas as private industry and in other areas such as nuclear fuels and nuclear fuel cycles, advanced reactor designs, and nuclear weapon design and maintenance. A principal pipeline/source of trained personnel (both military and civilian) for US reactor facilities is the US Navy Nuclear Power Program, including its Nuclear Power School in South Carolina. Employment in nuclear engineering is predicted to grow about nine percent in the year 2022 as needed to replace retiring nuclear engineers, provide maintenance and updating of safety systems in power plants, and to advance the applications of nuclear medicine. [3] [4] [5]

Nuclear medicine and medical physics

Medical physics is an important field of nuclear medicine; its sub-fields include nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, health physics, and diagnostic imaging. [6] Highly specialized and intricately operating equipment, including x-ray machines, MRI and PET scanners and many other devices provide most of modern medicine's diagnostic capability—along with disclosing subtle treatment options. [7] [8]

Nuclear materials

Nuclear materials research focuses on two main subject areas, nuclear fuels and irradiation-induced modification of nuclear materials. Improvement of nuclear fuels is crucial for obtaining increased efficiency from nuclear reactors. Irradiation effects studies have many purposes, including studying structural changes to reactor components and studying nano-modification of metals using ion-beams or particle accelerators. [9]

Radiation protection and measurement

Radiation measurement is fundamental to the science and practice of radiation protection, sometimes known as radiological protection, which is the protection of people and the environment from the harmful effects of uncontrolled radiation. [10]

Nuclear engineers and radiological scientists are interested in developing more advanced ionizing radiation measurement and detection systems, and using these advances to improve imaging technologies; these areas include detector design, fabrication and analysis, measurements of fundamental atomic and nuclear parameters, and radiation imaging systems, among others.

Nuclear engineering organizations

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Nuclear reactor Device used to initiate and control a nuclear chain reaction

A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction or nuclear fusion reactions. Nuclear reactors are used at nuclear power plants for electricity generation and in nuclear marine propulsion. Heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid, which in turn runs through steam turbines. These either drive a ship's propellers or turn electrical generators' shafts. Nuclear generated steam in principle can be used for industrial process heat or for district heating. Some reactors are used to produce isotopes for medical and industrial use, or for production of weapons-grade plutonium. As of early 2019, the IAEA reports there are 454 nuclear power reactors and 226 nuclear research reactors in operation around the world.

Radiography Imaging technique using ionizing and non-ionizing radiation

Radiography is an imaging technique using X-rays, gamma rays, or similar ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation to view the internal form of an object. Applications of radiography include medical radiography and industrial radiography. Similar techniques are used in airport security. To create an image in conventional radiography, a beam of X-rays is produced by an X-ray generator and is projected toward the object. A certain amount of the X-rays or other radiation is absorbed by the object, dependent on the object's density and structural composition. The X-rays that pass through the object are captured behind the object by a detector. The generation of flat two dimensional images by this technique is called projectional radiography. In computed tomography an X-ray source and its associated detectors rotate around the subject which itself moves through the conical X-ray beam produced. Any given point within the subject is crossed from many directions by many different beams at different times. Information regarding attenuation of these beams is collated and subjected to computation to generate two dimensional images in three planes which can be further processed to produce a three dimensional image.

Nuclear technology Technology that involves the reactions of atomic nuclei

Nuclear technology is technology that involves the nuclear reactions of atomic nuclei. Among the notable nuclear technologies are nuclear reactors, nuclear medicine and nuclear weapons. It is also used, among other things, in smoke detectors and gun sights.

Ionizing radiation consists of subatomic particles or electromagnetic waves that have sufficient energy to ionize atoms or molecules by detaching electrons from them. The particles generally travel at a speed that is greater than 1% of that of light, and the electromagnetic waves are on the high-energy portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Medical physics is, in general, the application of physics concepts, theories, and methods to medicine and healthcare. Medical physics departments may be found in institutions such as universities, hospitals, and laboratories.

Radiation protection, also known as radiological protection, is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as "The protection of people from harmful effects of exposure to ionizing radiation, and the means for achieving this". Exposure can be from a source of radiation external to the human body or due to internal irradiation caused by the ingestion of radioactive contamination.

Health physics

Health physics, also referred to as the science of radiation protection, is the profession devoted to protecting people and their environment from potential radiation hazards, while making it possible to enjoy the beneficial uses of radiation. Health physicists normally require a four-year bachelor’s degree and qualifying experience that demonstrates a professional knowledge of the theory and application of radiation protection principles and closely related sciences. Health physicists principally work at facilities where radionuclides or other sources of ionizing radiation are used or produced; these include research, industry, education, medical facilities, nuclear power, military, environmental protection, enforcement of government regulations, and decontamination and decommissioning—the combination of education and experience for health physicists depends on the specific field in which the health physicist is engaged.

Radioactive contamination US safety regulations for nuclear power and weapons

Radioactive contamination, also called radiological contamination, is the deposition of, or presence of radioactive substances on surfaces or within solids, liquids or gases, where their presence is unintended or undesirable.

Certified Health Physicist is an official title granted by the American Board of Health Physics, the certification board for health physicists in the United States. A Certified Health Physicist is designated by the letters CHP or DABHP after his or her name.

Windscale fire Nuclear accident in the UK

The Windscale fire of 10 October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in the United Kingdom's history, and one of the worst in the world, ranked in severity at level 5 out of a possible 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The fire took place in Unit 1 of the two-pile Windscale facility on the northwest coast of England in Cumberland. The two graphite-moderated reactors, referred to at the time as "piles", had been built as part of the British post-war atomic bomb project. Windscale Pile No. 1 was operational in October 1950 followed by Pile No. 2 in June 1951.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Nuclear research facility in Mumbai, India

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) formerly known as Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay is India's premier nuclear research facility, headquartered in Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra. Founded by Homi Jehangir Bhabha Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) in January 1954 as a multidisciplinary research program essential for the india's nuclear program. It operates under the Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) which is directly overseen by the Prime Minister of India. In 1966 after the death of Homi Jehangir Bhabha AEET renamed as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) BARC is a multi-disciplinary research centre with extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development covering the entire spectrum of nuclear science, chemical engineering, material sciences & metallurgy, electronic instrumentation, biology and medicine, supercomputing, high-energy physics and Plasma physics and associated research for Indian nuclear programme and related areas.

Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research

Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research(IGCAR) is one of India's premier nuclear research centres. It is the second largest establishment of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), next to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), located at Kalpakkam, 80 km south of Chennai, India. It was established in 1971 as an exclusive centre dedicated to the pursuit of fast reactor science and technology, due to the vision of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. Originally, it was called as Reactor Research Centre (RRC). It was renamed as Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research(IGCAR) by the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi in December 1985. The centre is engaged in broad-based multidisciplinary programme of scientific research and advanced engineering directed towards the development of Fast Breeder Reactor technology, in India.

The IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) is a transnational group of about 3000 professional engineers and scientists. The IEEE-affiliated Society sponsors five major annual, and 12 biennial conferences and symposia. It also sponsors or co-sponsor four peer-reviewed academic journals.

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) was constituted on 15 November 1983 by the President of India by exercising the powers conferred by Section 27 of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions under the Act. The regulatory authority of AERB is derived from the rules and notifications promulgated under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 and the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986. The headquarters is in Mumbai.

Radiobiology is a field of clinical and basic medical sciences that involves the study of the action of ionizing radiation on living things, especially health effects of radiation. Ionizing radiation is generally harmful and potentially lethal to living things but can have health benefits in radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer and thyrotoxicosis. Its most common impact is the induction of cancer with a latent period of years or decades after exposure. High doses can cause visually dramatic radiation burns, and/or rapid fatality through acute radiation syndrome. Controlled doses are used for medical imaging and radiotherapy.

The IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award is a Technical Field Award that was established by the IEEE Board of Directors in 2008. This award may be presented for outstanding contributions to the field of nuclear and plasma sciences and engineering.

X-ray detector

X-ray detectors are devices used to measure the flux, spatial distribution, spectrum, and/or other properties of X-rays.

Madan M. Rehani

Madan M. Rehani is an Indian-born medical physicist.

Paul C. Aebersold (1910-1967) was an American nuclear physicist and pioneer of the biologic and medical application of radioactive materials. He worked on the Manhattan Project and became the first director of the United States Atomic Energy Commission's Division of Isotope Development.

Windscale Piles

The Windscale Piles were a pair of air-cooled graphite-moderated nuclear reactors on the northwest coast of England in Cumberland. The two reactors, referred to at the time as "piles", were built as part of the British post-war atomic bomb project.


  1. "Nuclear Engineers : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  2. "Nuclear engineer job profile |". Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  3. "Nuclear Engineers – Job Outlook" in Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–15. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
  4. "Nuclear Engineers: Jobs, Career, Salary and Education Information". Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  5. "Nuclear Engineer Job Description, Career as a Nuclear Engineer, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job". Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  6. Medical Physicist. American Association of Physicists in Medicine
  7. "Physicist - Careers in Nuclear Medicine - SNMMI". Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  8. "Human Health Campus - Dosimetry and Medical Physics". Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  9. "Nuclear Materials". U.S.N.R.C. 2019-01-05.
  10. Valentin, J. (2005-01-07). "Protecting people against radiation exposure in the event of a radiological attack". Annals of the ICRP. 35 (1): 1–41. doi: 10.1016/j.icrp.2005.01.002 . ISSN   0146-6453.

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