Nuclear Energy- Why, How and Prospects


Stanford School of Engineering



Thank you for your interest in the XEIET140 Nuclear Energy course. This course was retired in January 2021. If you would like to learn about nuclear energy, we suggest you take XEIET200 Planning for a Sustainable Future with Wind, Water and the Sun which includes a unit on nuclear energy.

If you completed this course in the past or are taking it now, the course will continue to count toward your EIET certificate.

Is nuclear energy experiencing a renaissance or taking its last breaths? As global demand for energy increases, cost-effective, environmentally friendly sources of energy are increasingly sought after. Where does nuclear energy fit into the world’s energy portfolio? In this course you will learn the fundamentals of nuclear technology and advances that could impact future use. Explore issues of cost, safety and waste disposal as well as the influence of politics. Compare energy sources and their impact on global warming, and assess the role nuclear energy has played and could play in meeting our energy needs. Learn how the international community is responding to the challenges and opportunities in this evolving field and the science behind tomorrow’s nuclear reactors.

What you will learn

  • How a nuclear reactor works
  • Why the global energy picture must change
  • How safe is nuclear energy? Perception vs. reality, regulation and inspection
  • The threat of nuclear weapon proliferation
  • Nuclear energy developments across the globe

Topics include

  • A nuclear energy primer: past, present and future
  • The nuclear fuel cycle: from mining to waste disposal
  • Cost, Safety and Politics
  • Reactors of tomorrow
  • Fusion Energy: Feasibility and Limits

This course is approximately 3.5 hours of video content with 1 hour of coursework.

Continuing Education Units

By completing this course, you’ll earn 0.5 Continuing Education Unit (CEU). CEUs cannot be applied toward any Stanford degree. CEU transferability is subject to the receiving institution’s policies.


  • $295 per online course


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