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Broadening The Knowledge Base Of Nuclear Engineering Students: The Development Of A Course In Radiation Sources And Applications

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Graduate Student Experiences and Funding

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.269.1 - 9.269.11

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Paper Authors

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Nolan Hertel

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Michael Shannon

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Broadening the Knowledge Base of Nuclear Engineering Students: The Development of a Course in Radiation Sources and Applications

Nolan E. Hertel, Michael P. Shannon

Neely Nuclear Research Center, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA/ Department of Physics, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY


Nuclear engineering curricula have undergone significant revisions over the past ten years, in response to both declining enrollments in the early 1990s and to broaden the visions of nuclear engineering students beyond nuclear power applications. The keystone of traditional nuclear engineering curricula was the need for competence in the design, modeling and operation of nuclear reactors, particularly power reactors. As the resurgence in demand for BS-level nuclear engineering graduates has indicated, this emphasis is still paramount. However, the nuclear engineering graduate of today should have a basic understanding of other opportunities and technologies to which their discipline can be applied. In 1997, in order to add a radiological engineering flavor to the nuclear engineering curriculum at the Georgia Institute of Technology, two one-quarter long courses were added to the curriculum. They were a radiation sources course and a radiation applications course. In 1999 a conversion was made to the semester system at Georgia Tech and initially two semester long courses were created, one of which was adapted from its quarter version to include some fuel cycle and nuclear chemical engineering topics. Subsequently, in 2002, the two courses were merged into a one-semester long course entitled “Radiation Sources and Applications”. The course has seen some dynamic changes over its first two years of being taught. It offers nuclear engineering undergraduate students with an overall foundation for success in many areas where radiation and nuclear physics are applied to non-power problems. This paper will discuss the development of the course, the topics covered in it, the course goals and expectations as well as the impact of the course on Georgia Tech BSNRE graduates.


The nuclear engineering profession has undergone significant changes over the past 20 years. With a shift from full-scale development of reactor-based power plants, the focus of nuclear engineers has shifted into a broad array of nuclear-based applications. These applications range from industrial uses of radioisotopes, i.e. gauges, tools and manufacturing imaging machines to food sterilization to diagnostic and therapeutic processes used in nuclear medicine. The need for nuclear engineers to have an understanding of these applications is Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Hertel, N., & Shannon, M. (2004, June), Broadening The Knowledge Base Of Nuclear Engineering Students: The Development Of A Course In Radiation Sources And Applications Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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