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Choosing a University for a Masters in Nuclear Engineering

  1. Dec 12, 2015 #1
    I'm a Mechanical Engineering student here in Australia, having lived here my entire life. I'm finishing up my last topic in second year over the summer/Christmas holidays and have spent the last 12 months working for a gas/energy startup (are we still a startup now we're listed?) as a junior engineering/financial analyst and general researcher.

    My interest in to things nuclear started five or six years ago from the weapons side of thing. I enjoyed reading about other peoples thoughts on what secrets lie "on the other side of the fence" and liked forming my own conclusions and deductions from the small trickle of information available. This naturally lead to nuclear physics and then to nuclear power reactors. I confess I started from the "nuclear power is bad" camp and eventually formed a pro-nuclear stance based on the evidence presented.

    Having to think about what I would actually like to do when I finished my degree I naturally got an interest in nuclear power reactor design and having read all about the varied possibilities of Gen IV reactors I'm now quite sure I want to go into this industry.

    The problem is I live in Australia. We only have one university offering a masters of nuclear engineering who started the program up two or three years ago. It also doesn't look very thorough; there are only three topics in the course (out of thirteen) that actually deal with reactors along with one topic of radiation safety, one of uranium mining and five of electrical and electrical distribution systems, plus a project.

    On the other hand, randomly naming a US university and googling it (University of Florida in this case) gets me a postgrad course with 40 or so possible topics of which more than half have to do with reactor physics and engineering.

    Given this it seems I have no choice but to study overseas. I don't mind - it will give me a chance to experience a new country. As for choosing a region I'm pretty firmly set on North America. They have to speak English which rules out most of Europe while my perception of the matter is that the UK has stagnated when it comes to nuclear power so that too I think is out.

    So my question is, how would I go about short-listing universities in which to study at? What do people recommend for universities offering a nuclear engineering masters?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2015 #2


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    One should determine in what area of nuclear engineering one has interest.

    There are many good schools in the US, Canada and UK/ Europe. One can read scientific journals (at the library, if not online) and university program websites to get an idea of the kind of research and academic work available.
  4. Dec 14, 2015 #3
    Fission reactor design was what I wanted to study.
  5. Dec 14, 2015 #4


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    Is one interested in light water reactors, e.g., PWR or BWR, or in the more advanced concepts, e.g., Gen-IV reactors?

    In what particular aspect of fission reactor design is one interested? Neutronics? Thermal hydraulics? Materials? Structural design and analysis?
  6. Dec 14, 2015 #5
    Gen 4. I'm not really sure what beyond that. There are a lot of possibilities.
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