GE1321 - Our Life in the Nuclear Age

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Credit Units
Course Duration
One Semester
GE Area
Area 3: Science and Technology
Course Offering Term*:
Semester B 2021/22
Semester B 2022/23 (Tentative)

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
Course Aims

Nuclear technology is widely used in modern day society, ranging from simple smoke detector to more sophisticated PET scan medical equipment.  Also, nuclear energy is considered as the only non-greenhouse gas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy global energy demand. The key element of all these different applications is radiation.  Radiation has led to the creation of many useful applications and hence brings many business and career opportunities.  However, like many great inventions, it also comes with its risks and controversies.  Through examples commonly found in our daily life and visits to some relevant organisations such as Daya-Bay Nuclear Power Station, this course help students from different disciplines, including business, law and social science students, to appreciate the pros and cons of nuclear technology.  It will also facilitate students to recognise the opportunities and the risks associated with the nuclear technology in order to benefit their own future careers.

This course aims to introduce the roles of nuclear technology in the modern society. Some typical examples will be used to illustrate how the nuclear technology can be used to enhance our quality of life.  Students will also learn the brief history of nuclear technology and the issues of nuclear proliferation.  As Hong Kong is using over 23% nuclear energy, and 77 new reactors are under construction and planned in mainland China, the course will discuss why nuclear energy is essential for modern society, even after several severe nuclear accidents in the past. The course is designed to help students to appreciate the basic principles of nuclear energy generation, radiation, medical radiation, radiation protection, nuclear safety, nuclear waste, maintenance engineering, risk engineering, crisis management, nuclear controversy and nanotechnology for nuclear applications.  Through real-life examples, aforementioned topics and fieldtrips, students would be able to comprehend the opportunities and also the risks associated with the technology in modern society.

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 70%
Examination: 30%
Examination Duration: 1.5 hours
Detailed Course Information


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Department of Mechanical Engineering