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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 17/05/2022 10:42:56

Title of Module: Applications of Nuclear Physics

Code: PHYS10012 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:David  O'Donnell

Summary of Module

This Module is a one of the SCQF Level-10 core components of the BSc programme in Physics with Nuclear Technology. The Module is normally taken in Year 4 of the degree programme. The Module covers applications of nuclear physics, taking forward elements of nuclear physics and radioactivity that were taught at Level 7 (PHYS07002) and Level 9 (PHYS09011). This module will predominantly be delivered through lectures and tutorials with support in the form of practical sessions in the laboratory where the concepts are further explored.

Assessment is by examination (80%) and coursework (20%). The coursework will consist of a laboratory work (10%) and written assignments (10%). The module will be supported by material on the Moodle internet resource. A brief outline of the module syllabus is given below.

Radiation doses and hazard assessment (~2 lectures)
Doses and dose equivalents; biological effects; cancer risks; radiation protection standards

Principles of nuclear reactors (~8 lectures)
Neutron moderation; neutron life cycle; reactor kinetics; poisoning; diffusion equation;

Nuclear power (~8 lectures)
Electricity from thermal energy; reactor designs; nuclear fuel cycle; nuclear propulsion

Thermonuclear fusion (~4 lectures)
Energy production in plasmas; magnetically confined fusion; ITER; inertial confinement fusion

Nuclear applications in industry, research, and society (~6 lectures)
Radio-dating; neutron-activation analysis; x-ray fluorescence (XRF); proton-induced x-ray emission (PIXE); gamma-induced x-ray emission (GIXE); food irradiation; muon tomography; Compton imaging.

  • We have defined a set of Graduate Attributes that are the skills, personal qualities and understanding to be developed through your university experience that will prepare for life and work in the 21st century ( The Graduate Attributes relevant to this module are listed below.

  • Graduate Attributes - Academic: critical thinker; analytical; inquiring; knowledgeable; digitally literate; problem solver; autonomous; incisive; innovative.

  • Graduate Attributes - Personal: effective communicator; influential; motivated.

  • Graduate Attributes - Professional: collaborative; research-minded; enterprising; ambitious; driven.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced concepts related to applications of nuclear physics.

L2. To be able to apply the principles of advanced concepts in nuclear physics to solve relevant problems.

L3. To communicate experimental work clearly by recording procedures and observations in a log book, and by writing formal written laboratory reports.

L4. To perform practical tasks using a wide range of laboratory equipment, make accurate observations, estimate uncertainties, and draw conclusions.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Knowledge of the core concepts of the applications of nuclear physics.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of radiation doses and hazards, nuclear reactors, nuclear power, and nuclear applicatiosn in industry and society.

Demonstrate a critical approach towards experimental work at a high level including the use of fast modern day detection systems.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Use a selection of skills, techniques and practices applicable to employment in nuclear-related areas, or enabling further study (such as MSc or PhD).

Practice up-to-date literature searches of relevant topics in applied nuclear physics.

Understanding of the concepts of the most important questions in modern-day applications of nuclear physics.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Critical appreciation of underlying complex concepts.

Problem analysis, evaluation, solving and appreciation.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Use of computers for advanced studies (programming, simulation, data-mining).

Use of scientific database systems for literature searches.

Literary skills, enabling the communication of abstract concepts in written and verbal form.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Individual study and retrieval of scientific literature.

Working towards deadlines and accountability for scientific conducts such as referencing.

Interaction with peers in discussion of subject matter.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Thermodynamics & Statistical Physics
Quantum Mechanics
Imaging & Nuclear Medicine
Atoms & Nuclei
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This delivery of this fourth-year Physics module is primarily lecture based, having an additional focus on complementary practical work, which is incorporated by relevant laboratory projects. Lectures are complemented by tutorial work, or small-group exercises that address the underlying physical principles of applied nuclear technology. Lectures are designed to give students a sound insight into subject area. A reading list is provided which will point the students towards literature relating to the course content. Students are encouraged to use the modern information retrieval systems for further understanding of the subject area. All lecture material and handouts will be made available on the Moodle VLE. Adjustments for special needs can be made on request. Tutorials will allow students to gain a deeper understanding. Critical evaluation of problems is an important part of the learning agenda in the tutorials. Group work is highly encouraged. As Physics is an experimental science, selected experiments are incorporated in laboratory work (e.g. studies of neutron absorption). Within the laboratory the students have the unique possibility to gain a hands-on knowledge using state-of-the-art equipment and computer systems for analysis. Each experimental exercise will be recorded in log books which will be assessed. An effective communication of experimental findings and an appreciation of their relevance in the bigger picture are essential for successful completion of the Module. It is expected that students will extend their knowledge in private study. The student can refer to a collection of relevant material provided. Self-study and self-assessment with formative exercises as published e.g. on Moodle will be highly encouraged.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Independent Study164
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

K. S. Krane “Introductory Nuclear Physics” Wiley (1988)

J. S. Lilley “Nuclear Physics – Principles and Applications”
Manchester Physics Series – Wiley (2001)

J. K. Shultis and R.E. Law “Fundamentals of Nuclear Science and Engineering” CRC Press (2008)

J. Wood “Nuclear Power” IET – Institute of Engineering and Technology (2007)

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPhysical Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPhysical Sciences
ModeratorNara Singh Bondili
External ExaminerH Boston
Accreditation DetailsInstitute of Physics
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Component 1: Examination (80%)
Conmponent 2: Coursework (20%) consisting of written assignments (10%) and laboratory work (10%)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen closed book (standard)check markcheck mark  800

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Laboratory/ Clinical/ Field notebook  check markcheck mark1012
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck mark  100
Combined Total For All Components100% 12 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.