Nuclear Energy- Why, How and Prospects


Stanford School of Engineering



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


Please contact the Program Manager at

034 Online

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Instructors: Burton Richter
Delivery Option:
Online Course $295.00

Course Access
60 day access to the online course starts upon payment. 

Course Materials
Course materials are available for download from the online videos page. All materials are available for printing and review upon enrollment.

Final Exam
Online participants are asked to complete a final exam at the end of each course to maintain the integrity of the program. A score of 85% must be achieved to successfully pass the exam. A digital record of completion will be emailed to participants when they pass the exam.

Course Evaluation
It is required that participants complete the course evaluation once they have passed the final exam.

This course may not currently be available to learners in some states and territories.