Nuclear PE Exam

NCEES Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination
Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering  Engineering Exam Specifications
As of April 2012

A few general points noted about the exam, which are followed by the detailed specifications.

• The exam is an 8-hour open-book exam. It contains 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour morning session, and 40 multiple-choice questions in the 4-hour afternoon session. Examinee works all questions.
• The exam uses both the International System of units (SI) and the US Customary System (USCS).
• The exam is developed with questions that will require a variety of approaches and methodologies, including design, analysis, and application.
• The knowledge areas specified as examples of kinds of knowledge are not exclusive or exhaustive categories.

I. Nuclear Power Systems 35%
A. Design and Analysis 20%
1.    Energy generation and conversion
2.    Application and interpretation of data from experimental measurements 
of key parameters in the power system (e.g., heat transfer, fluid mechanics, 
power distributions, void fractions, scaling)
3.    Applications of conservation of mass, energy, and momentum
4.    Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) (e.g., fault trees and event trees, 
probability distribution functions and cumulative distribution functions, 
quantitative risk analysis [QRA])
5.    Reactor safety analysis (e.g., LOCA, transient thermal-hydraulic behavior, 
fuel-clad mechanical interactions, chemical interactions)
6.    Reliability analysis (e.g., reliability block diagram analysis, single failure 
analysis, failure modes and effects analysis [FMEA], parts count analysis 
[PCA], stress margin analysis)
7.    Severe accident analysis (e.g., degraded core, combustible gas control, 
radiolysis, zirconium water reaction)
8.    Systems interactions (e.g., integrated plant behavior, coupling and feedback, 
steam generator level response to throttle valve)
9.    Thermal-hydraulic analysis (e.g., heat transfer, fluid dynamics, 
thermodynamics, natural circulation, critical heat flux, departure from nucleate boiling [DNB], peak centerline temperature, peak clad temperature, hot channel factor, flow oscillations)
10.    Engineering decision making (e.g., cost/benefit analysis, environmental impact, economics, ALARA, alternatives analysis)
11.    Treatment of measurement uncertainties in reactor protection and safety systems (e.g., error analysis)
B.    Components and Systems 12.5%
1.    Power conversion systems (e.g., turbines, heat exchangers, reactor, 
steam generator, pressurizer, steam dryers and separators)
2.    Containment systems (e.g., ice condensers, pressure suppression, 
containment spray, control of radionuclides, hydrogen control)
3.    Emergency core cooling systems (e.g., high-pressure injection, low-pressure 
injection, accumulators, emergency power, passive safety)
4.    Materials (e.g., thermophysical and neutronic properties, performance 
5.    Mechanical and hydraulic systems (e.g., pump and turbomachinery 
performance, fluid-structure interactions)
6.    Instrumentation and control (e.g., pressure and temperature sensors, 
flow meters, interlocks and permissives, power meters, coincidence circuits)
7.    Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS) water chemistry (e.g., corrosion 
control, soluble poison)
C.    Regulations, Codes, and Standards 2.5%
1.    Codes and standards (e.g., interpretation of excerpts of ASME pressure vessel, ANSI/ANS to a given situation)
2.    Regulations and regulatory guidance (e.g., interpretation of excerpts of
10 CFR parts 21, 50, 51, 52, 54, 72, 100, NRC Regulatory Guides to a given situation)
3.    Licensing documentation scope (e.g., interpretation of excerpts of Technical Specifications, Safety Analysis Report [SAR], Environmental Impact Study [EIS] to a given situation)
II. Nuclear Fuel Cycle 15%
A.    Fuel Design and Analysis 12.5%
1.    Cladding (e.g., integrity, corrosion, strength, chemical composition, 
neutron cross section)
2.    Depletion, burnup, and transmutation (e.g., transuranics, fission 
products, spent fuel assay)
3.    Fuel cycle processes (e.g., material balance, fuel enrichment, SWU, tails 
4.    Fuel bundle design (e.g., fissile enrichment, chemical form, accommodation 
for fission gas release, materials behavior, thermal hydraulic analysis)
5.    Conversion and enrichment processes (e.g., uranium chemistry, gaseous 
B.    Handling, Shipping, and Storage 2.5%
1.    Nuclear material accountability and control (e.g., inventory and accountability, Material Unaccounted For [MUF], special nuclear material [SNM] regulations)
2.    Radioactive materials storage (e.g., spent fuel pool, independent spent fuel storage installation [ISFSI])
3.    Transport and storage cask design (e.g., Safety Analysis Report for Packaging [SARP], criticality, shielding, cooling, structural integrity)
III. Interaction of Radiation with Matter 25%
A. Analysis 20%
1.    Buildup factors (e.g., correction factors, energy flux)
2.    Chart of the nuclides (e.g., radioactive decay, energy release, half lives, 
branching, neutron activation)
3.    Counting statistics (e.g., error propagation, deadtime analysis, standard 
deviation, lower limit of detection [LLD])
4.    Energy deposition (e.g., local, distributed, thermal analysis of shields, 
charcoal heating)
5.    Interaction coefficients (e.g., μa, μtr, μe)
6.    Interaction of photons with matter (e.g., interaction coefficients [μa, μtr, μe], 
Compton scattering, pair production, photoelectric effect)
7.    Radiation effects on materials (e.g., swelling, creep, radiolytic decomposition, 
8.    Neutron activation analysis
9.    Neutron transport (e.g., flux, current, scattering, absorption, streaming)
10.    Nuclear reaction rates (e.g., capture, scattering, charged particle, neutron 
11.    Shield design (e.g., materials, shape and orientation, High Z, Low Z, neutron 
absorbers, streaming, skyshine)
12.    Source terms (e.g., transuranics, fission products, spent fuel, coolant, radwaste)
B. Protection 5%
1.    Dose assessment and personnel safety (e.g., biological effects, quality 
factors, acute radiation effects, chronic radiation effects)
2.    Dosimetry (e.g., calibration, thermoluminescent dosimeter [TLD], film)
3.    Emergency plans (e.g., criticality alarm systems, evacuation, exclusion 
zone, emergency declarations)
4.    Radiation detection (e.g., types, selection, detector sensitivity, charge 
5.    Radioactive material monitoring (e.g., controlled areas, in-situ monitoring)
6.    Regulatory requirements (e.g., interpretations of excerpts of 10 CFR part 20 
to a given situation)
IV. Nuclear Criticality/Kinetics/Neutronics 25%
A. Criticality 6.25%
1.    Criticality analysis (e.g., neutron balance, neutron reflection, leakage, 
combination of uncertainties, subcritical multiplication)
2.    Subcritical systems analysis (e.g., neutron sources, neutron balance, neutron 
reflection, leakage, new fuel handling)
3.    Lessons learned from case histories (e.g., criticality safety practices, double 
contingency, SL-1, Tokai-mura)
4.    Minimum critical mass (e.g., different fissile materials, bare and reflected, 
H/U ratio)
B. Kinetics 6.25%
1.    Delayed neutrons (e.g., beta, energy spectrum)
2.    Fission product poisoning (e.g., xenon, samarium)
3.    Point kinetics (e.g., keff, delayed neutron fraction, fission spectrum, reactivity, neutron lifetime, prompt critical, delayed critical)
4.    Reactivity coefficients (e.g., temperature, power, Doppler, void)
5.    Spatially dependent kinetics (e.g., xenon oscillations, local control rod 
effects, impact of local detectors)
C. Neutronics 12.5%
1.    Characterization of neutron spectra (e.g., fast and thermal reactors, spectral shift, moderator effectiveness)
2.    Chart of the nuclides (e.g., transformations, half lives, fission yields)
3.    Cross sections (e.g., macroscopic and microscopic, atomic number densities, 
inelastic scattering, elastic scattering, absorption, transport, fission, energy collapsing)
4.    Effects of strong absorbers (e.g., control rod worth, burnable poisons, self-shielding)
5.    Energy release from nuclear processes (e.g., fission, fission product decay, prompt gamma, fusion)
6.    Reactor core analysis (e.g., multigroup transport, approximations: Fick’s Law, diffusion approximation, diffusion coefficients, perturbation theory,
Monte Carlo methods)
7.    Reactivity transients (e.g., rod drop, anticipated transient without scram [ATWS], differential rod worth)
8.    Slowing down and thermalization (e.g., lethargy, scattering kernels, logarithmic energy decrement, Maxwellian distribution, resonance capture, Doppler broadening, unresolved resonances, 1/v)


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