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22.011x

Nuclear Energy: Science, Systems and Society

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This course is currently archived on edX. Certificate enrollment is closed.

About This Course

Nuclear Energy: Science, Systems and Society offers an introduction to the basic physics of nuclear energy and radiation, with an emphasis on the unique attributes and challenges of nuclear energy as a low-carbon solution. Peaceful applications of ionizing radiation to help mankind, such as reactors for materials science research, nuclear medicine, and security initiatives, will be introduced.

The course will explore fission energy, establishing the scientific, engineering, and economic basis for fission reactors, and will describe the state of the art in nuclear reactor technology.

We will also learn about magnetic fusion energy research, with lectures covering the scientific and engineering basis of tokamaks, the state of the art in world fusion experiments, and the MIT vision for high-magnetic field fusion reactor.

In addition, the course also includes an optional hands-on section, where you will be able acquire radiation detectors and use them to explore radiation in the world around them, using guided exercises available on-line.

Image Source: http://sciencestockphotos.com.

Learning Objectives

Learners will be able to critically assess questions such as:
  • What are common and not-so-common sources of radiation, and should I be concerned?
  • Can nuclear energy help to solve the climate change problem?
  • Is nuclear energy cost competitive?
  • Do I want a nuclear power plant in my backyard?
  • What is the basic idea behind fusion energy and how viable are proposed paths to develop fusion reactors?
  • How much radiation exists around me?

Recommended Prerequisites

Familiarity with high school level calculus is desirable, but not required.

License Type

This course may contain material that is © third parties. Unless otherwise indicated, all content is © All Rights Reserved by the course instructor(s).

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Jacopo Buongiorno

TEPCO Professor and Associate Department Head of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Course Staff Image #2

Anne White

Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor in Nuclear Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Course Staff Image #2

Michael Short

Class ’42 Career Development Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Course Staff Image #2

John Parsons

Senior Lecturer, Finance Group at MIT Sloan School of Management

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions and find information on further assistance here.
  1. Course Number:

    22.011x
  2. Classes Start:

  3. Classes End:

  4. Length:

    9 weeks
  5. Year Created:

    2019
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