The MPhil in Nuclear Energy recognises that though the prospects for nuclear are now better than they have been for twenty years, nuclear works in a market for energy technologies and has not special right to be developed. The political, economic and social context for nuclear power is as important as the technical merits of the designs of reactors and systems.
Nuclear technology is challenging because it is still relatively new being less than 70 years since the first controlled chain reaction. Also, it is challenging because of the multi-disciplinary nature of problems that often involve physics, materials and engineering at the same time.
To be successful, nuclear energy requires both high levels of technical and business competence together with unremitting attention to high standards of current safety and continuous improvement of tomorrow's safety.
The special nature of nuclear energy makes the industry global in its scale and its effect. Nuclear problems in one country have the potential to set-back the industry in many countries. Also, the high cost of developing and producing systems mean that only a few reactor systems can be economic and these will be built and operated around the world.
The course has been designed for top engineers and scientists with some experience post degree, not necessarily in the nuclear industry, or new graduates who want to equip themselves with the knowledge and the skills to build a career in nuclear energy.
The MPhil is part of the University of Cambridge's Strategic Energy Initiative in response to the prospect of a nuclear renaissance in the UK and around the world. The aim is to provide a masters-level degree course in Nuclear Energy which will combined nuclear science and technology topics with business, management and policy teaching.
The course will provide:
- a thorough grounding in the engineering, scientific and safety aspects of nuclear power;
- a good understanding of nuclear technology policy together with relevant business and policy understanding;
- an appreciation of the wider policy contexts of electricity generation in the 21st century.