Nuclear Engineers

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Also known as:
Atomic Process Engineer, Nuclear Engineer, Nuclear Radiation Engineer, Nuclear Steam Supply System Engineer, Radiation Engineer, Reactor Engineer, Reactor Projects Engineer

ABOUT NUCLEAR ENGINEER CAREERS
Video transcript

Tremendous energy is trapped in the nucleus of a tiny atom. Harnessing that energy is the work of nuclear engineers. They search for efficient ways to capture the bursts of energy from a disintegrating atom and put it to use. Nuclear engineers can be found developing numerous applications for nuclear energy, including power plants for consumer heat and electricity, methods for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, preservation of food supplies, or sterilization of medical instruments, and systems to power ships and spacecraft.

Nuclear engineers also make sure the atom's awesome power is used with care and that nuclear waste is disposed of safely. The ingredients for success in nuclear engineering include strong aptitudes in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics, as well as technical writing and computer programming. A creative approach to problem-solving and a college degree in one of the engineering sciences is also needed.

Since nuclear power is used in aircraft carriers and submarines, naval experience is also a path to this career. The majority of nuclear engineers work for public utilities or engineering consulting firms. Nuclear engineers have to be very responsible people who take great pride and great care in the work that they do.

SNAPSHOT
Conduct research on nuclear engineering projects or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and use of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Initiate corrective actions or order plant shutdowns in emergency situations.

Examine accidents to obtain data that can be used to design preventive measures.

Perform experiments that will provide information about acceptable methods of nuclear material usage, nuclear fuel reclamation, or waste disposal.

Conduct tests of nuclear fuel behavior and cycles or performance of nuclear machinery and equipment to optimize performance of existing plants.

Prepare environmental impact statements, reports, or presentations for regulatory or other agencies.

Design fuel cycle models or processes to reduce the quantity of radioactive waste generated from nuclear activities.

Design or oversee construction or operation of nuclear reactors or power plants or nuclear fuels reprocessing and reclamation systems.

Design or direct nuclear research projects to test or modify theoretical models, develop new theoretical models, or discover new uses for current models.

Develop or contribute to the development of plans to remediate or restore environments affected by nuclear radiation, such as waste disposal sites.

Discuss construction project proposals with interested parties, such as vendors, contractors, or nuclear facility review boards.

Consult with other scientists to determine parameters of experimentation or suitability of analytical models.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
TOP SKILLS
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.