The Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan caused a significant impact on the nuclear power industry and public attitudes towards nuclear energy. The decreased public acceptance and the regulatory authorities’ stricter requirements of nuclear safety lead to the popularity of advanced safety technologies in scientific research and engineering projects. The demand for highly qualified human resources increases by the gradual recovery of the nuclear power field in China. In order to meet this demand, a series of course innovations are taken at Tsinghua University. Focusing on the course “Nuclear Power Plant Systems and Equipment,” the paper discusses the innovations of the course stimulated by the current industry trends and demands.

A brief introduction to the special commissioned-student program at Tsinghua University is given. The paper investigates the meaning and function of the course in the frame of the curriculum plan for nuclear engineering students at Tsinghua University. The personal career plan, the industry outlook, and even the public attitudes contribute to senior students’ attitudes and demands for the course, which is tied closely to the effect of teaching. The paper addresses that the objective of the innovations is to develop a course fixing different students’ demands and help them build their ability to solve practical engineering problems in their future professional careers. The selection of teaching contents and the teaching strategy are discussed. This course takes Westinghouse AP1000 as the major point. And the nuclear power plant systems are taught in a divided way. One is the operation system, and the other is the safety system. This separation is based on the different functions and roles of these two parts and could have advantages in teaching effect. The paper explains the critical points of the systems and innovations of how to deal with course difficulties. There is a corresponding part of the safety system, and this part gets more challenges due to the industry trends. Lectures, group discussions, homework, and presentation projects are discussed. Besides, the paper considers possible efforts for further development of nuclear engineering courses.

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