N13: Criticality Safety Management


This module provides a comprehensive introduction to nuclear criticality safety and the management of nuclear criticality safety in facilities, or situations, where fissile materials are encountered outside a nuclear reactor. It is designed to reflect the core competencies specified by the United Kingdom Working Party on Criticality (WPC), and consists of a basic nuclear reactor physics and fuel cycle pre-course reading component (mandatory for students who have not yet completed the N01 module) and a one-week taught component which includes a presentation from a visiting lecturer from industry/government, and an introduction to the use of Monte-Carlo codes for criticality safety analysis. The taught component is followed by a post-course criticality safety assessment that is designed to consolidate knowledge gained during the course and to enable students to join industry with a solid understanding of the criticality safety process.

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Perform a comprehensive criticality safety assessment of an operational or (hypothetical) planned facility or plant, or part therein, involved in the use, storage, or processing of fissile materials
  • Which will require them to:

  • Apply the appropriate regulatory legislation, guidance, or standards during this assessment

  • Apply the appropriate regulatory legislation, guidance, or standards during this assessment
  • Justify their analysis through the appropriate use of data, benchmarks, cross-comparison of methods, and/or sensitivity analysis


This module is split into two parts and comprises of the following topics:

  • Physics of nuclear criticality
  • Methods of criticality control
  • Criticality accidents and incidents
  • Criticality incident detection and response
  • Anomalies of criticality
  • Estimating sub-criticality
  • Criticality codes and nuclear data
  • Computer modelling for criticality safety
  • Regulatory requirements and standards
  • Criticality hazards during transport
  • Criticality safety assessment methodology