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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Engineering

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    See Course Description

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Please see website for details

  • Last Updated

    05 September 2017

Course content

Nuclear technology plays a crucial role in a wide variety of contexts and sectors in Belgium, including power production, waste management, nuclear fuel production, etc. The Belgian Nuclear Higher Education Network (BNEN) combines the expertise in nuclear education and research of six major Belgian universities (KU Leuven, UGent, VUB, UCL, ULG and ULB) with the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN.

What is the Master of Nuclear Engineering about? 

Nuclear technology plays a crucial role in a wide variety of contexts and sectors in Belgium, including:

  • power production
  • nuclear fuel production
  • radioelement production
  • engineering
  • accelerator design and fabrication
  • waste management
  • safety management
  • nuclear medicine
  • research

 The Belgium Nuclear Higher Education Network combines the expertise in nuclear education and research of six major Belgian universities (KU Leuven, UGent, VUB, UCL, ULG and ULB) with the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre. 

Structure

The current programme can be divided into three core blocks:

  • Introductory courses allowing refreshing or first contact with the basic notions of nuclear physics, materials sciences and the principles of energy conversion through use of nuclear phenomena, supplemented by a core block of nuclear engineering applied to electricity generation and reactor use; theory of reactors and neutronics, thermal hydraulic phenomena during reactor operation, the nuclear fuel cycle and specific material-corrosion problems.
  • A block of elective courses that allow students to deepen certain topics of their choice.
  • A Master’s thesis.

The collaboration with SCK*CEN makes it possible to include actual use of facilities in the curriculum, supporting the development of skills and competences in a research environment. All subjects are taught by academics appointed by the partner universities, whereas the practical exercises and laboratory sessions are supervised by the experts of SCK*CEN. The Master’s thesis offers an opportunity for internship in industry or in a research laboratory.

All teaching activities take place on the premises of SCK*CEN. Courses are organised in English and in a modular way; teaching in blocks of one to three weeks for each module allows optimal time management for students and lecturers, facilitates registration for individual modules, and allows easy exchange with international students.

BNEN has served as a role model for the European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN) which now has become an association of over 60 members (universities, industry, regulators, research centres), aiming at facilitating mobility in Europe for students in nuclear engineering.

One particular aspect of the BNEN degree is that it automatically leads to the recognition as Class I Expert by the Federal Agency of Nuclear Control. In order to receive this accreditation the programme must at least offer 24 credits in Nuclear Safety and 12 credits in Radioprotection. 

Spotlight 

The Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering programme is an internationally oriented, interuniversity programme organised by BNEN in close collaboration with nuclear research centres and industry. The aim of the BNEN programme is to provide students with all the skills and scientific and technical background necessary to carry out duties at a high level of responsibility in order to ensure the safe and economical operation of nuclear power plants, the regulation and control of nuclear installations or to design new nuclear systems.

A major strength of the BNEN programme, as to its sustainability, is that it allows providing high quality academic education by experts from (or appointed by) the main Belgian universities at low individual cost and thus very efficiently harmonised/rationalised. In addition, the participation of the nuclear research centre SCK*CEN in the consortium provides superb realistic experimental facilities in a difficult (radioactive) environment at low cost for the universities.

A further fundamental strength of the programme can be found in the fact that a well-balanced curriculum is offered where the contents and format have been discussed at length with representatives of the major nuclear companies that are the first potential employers of the graduates. Objectives and programme outcomes were defined that encompass in depth disciplinary specific competences as well as, but in a less pronounced way, transferable skills and competences that are needed for an efficient integration of a graduate in a larger engineering team. There is a nearly complete overlap between objectives and realised competences in courses, electives, exercises and Master’s thesis. This can be ascribed to the following contributing factors:

  • There is a good balance between theory and practical skills. This is implemented through an appropriate diversity of didactic formats, including exercises and/or labs for nearly all courses.
  • There is a good balance between basic subjects and advanced subjects through elective course modules and topical days organized by SCK*CEN.
  • There is appropriate care for multidisciplinary scientific competences and for transferable skills through the importance given to the Master’s thesis.
  • The competences of the teaching staff (lecturers and assistants) with respect to the theoretical background are strong.
  • There is a good mix of junior and senior lecturers.
  • The education in programmes is backed by world-class research at the universities, the research center and the involvement of teachers working in international research institutes.
  • The involvement of several professors who have their principal employment in nuclear companies.
  • There is a large and dynamic group of young researchers involved in the course teaching (seminars), labs and exercises sessions and as mentors of Master’s theses.
  • Both the professors and the young researchers are very active in the major international research programmes and associations related to applications of nuclear phenomena.

Career perspectives

Graduates possess the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out duties at a high level of responsibility in:

  • nuclear power plants
  • nuclear research reactors
  • nuclear regulatory organisations
  • nuclear engineering firms
  • nuclear fuel fabrication
  • nuclear waste treatment
  • radio-isotope production

In addition, the degree itself is an important part of the legal qualifications necessary to become a safety professional in a major nuclear installation.


Visit the Nuclear Engineering MSc page on the KU Leuven website for more details!

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