UN 0804 – Nuclear Reactor Heat Transport System Design

2021 Version  updates and material will be posted as they become available 


   September 11, 2021
   September 18, 2021   
   September 25, 2021
   October 3, 2021
   October 17, 2021
   October 31, 2021
   November 14, 2021
   November 28, 2021

 Start Time:

   9:00 a.m.


  To be delivered synchronously and 100% online via Zoom   


   Nik Popov   Adjunct Professor, McMaster University


  • Final date to Register (on-time) – August 3, 2021
  • Late Registration (late fees apply) – September 8, 2021
  • Last day to Drop Course – September 13, 2021
Prerequisite:  Registration in the UNENE M.Eng. or UNENE Diploma Program
Distance Education:
  • If you will be participating using distance education please inform the instructor by email prior to the course commencing. Zoom is the web conferencing tool for distance ed.
  • It is highly recommended that you review the Physics refresher / prerequisite material for this course and the general Math refresher / prerequisite to ensure you are ready for UN0804. See the Refresher / Prerequisite Material page for further information.                

Course Description:

The thermal-hydraulic design part of the course includes the primary heat transport system design of nuclear reactors, emphasizing reactor main components and characteristics. Review of design methods and system equations based on conservation of heat, momentum and mass, including adequate empirical design correlations, and critical heat flux and pressure drop calculation methods. Topics include: description of reactor components and systems, design methodology, plant performance, safety design margins, etc. 

Preparing for the course:

  • If you were a regular senior undergraduate or graduate student in Engineering at McMaster, then no special preparation would be necessary for taking this course. Any accredited undergraduate engineering program contains sufficient mathematics and physics for this course. The content needed is all in the course notes. It should not be necessary to look elsewhere for special background information. So relax on that point.
  • However, there is a bit of mathematics and some simple numerical methods to contend with. If it has been a while since you have been in university and your mathematics has become a bit foggy, then you might want to first look over the course notes on this site to get a feel for what deficiencies you might have and then to dig out your old university texts to brush up. But don’t panic, exotic mathematical manipulations and solutions are not expected; rather, the conservation equations are used to express heat and mass flow balances and provide simple, approximate solutions.
  • Please do read ahead using the course notes supplied below. The compressed format does not give much time to think during the sessions but you can compensate somewhat by reading ahead.
  • You will need to print off the notes given below so you can follow along in the lectures.
  • It would be useful to give some thought to the following topics that will be part of the assignements in this course: selected small power reactors, and cascading design changes.  Also, one of the assignments in the course will be to solve 3-4 thermal-hydrualics problems.

INTRODUCTORY Course Presentations

1.    Introduction
2.    System Thermal-hydraulics
3.    Fuel Channel Termal-hydraulics
4.    Experimental Thermal-hydraulics
5.    Fundamental Thermal-hydraulics
6.    Two Phase Flow Fundamentals
6 a. Two Phase Flow Fundamentals cont’d
7.    Flow Regime Maps
8.    Heat and Mass Transer Fundamentals

2021 Course Material – to be updated

Course Introduction  

  • Introduction Presentation
  • UN804 Thermal-hydraulics Design course schedule
  • Assignments

Course Notes 

  • 1. Course introduction
  • 2. Introduction to TH Design
  • 3. Power Reactor Types
  • 4. Design Evolution
  • 5. Thermodynamics
  • 6. Thermalhydraulics
  • 7.  Heat Transfer
  • 8. Critical Heat Flux
  • 9. Post Dryout Heat Transfer
  • 10. Pressure Drop
  • 11. Critical Flow
  • 12. Thermal-hydraulics Computer Code
  • 13. Generation IV and Small Modular Reactors

Reference Material

All files are password protected


Learning Resources

  • Teaching matters – helpful general information on teaching and learning for the student and the educator
  • Looking for FORTRAN information? See the Downloads page for engineering software and compilers, etc.
  • Computing tools – some suggestions.
  • Suggestions welcome.