Career summary

Details for Nuclear Engineers


Description

Conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

Tasks

  • Initiate corrective actions or order plant shutdowns in emergency situations.
  • Monitor nuclear facility operations to identify any design, construction, or operation practices that violate safety regulations and laws or that could jeopardize the safety of operations.
  • Design or develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores, radiation shielding, or associated instrumentation or control mechanisms.
  • Examine accidents to obtain data that can be used to design preventive measures.
  • Direct operating or maintenance activities of operational nuclear power plants to ensure efficiency and conformity to safety standards.
  • Recommend preventive measures to be taken in the handling of nuclear technology, based on data obtained from operations monitoring or from evaluation of test results.
  • Write operational instructions to be used in nuclear plant operation or nuclear fuel or waste handling and disposal.
  • Conduct environmental studies related to topics such as nuclear power generation, nuclear waste disposal, or nuclear weapon deployment.
  • Direct environmental compliance activities associated with nuclear plant operations or maintenance.
  • Prepare environmental impact statements, reports, or presentations for regulatory or other agencies.
  • Prepare technical reports of findings or recommendations, based on synthesized analyses of test results.
  • Develop or contribute to the development of plans to remediate or restore environments affected by nuclear radiation, such as waste disposal sites.
  • Conduct tests of nuclear fuel behavior and cycles or performance of nuclear machinery and equipment to optimize performance of existing plants.
  • 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.
  • Design fuel cycle models or processes to reduce the quantity of radioactive waste generated from nuclear activities.
  • Consult with other scientists to determine parameters of experimentation or suitability of analytical models.
  • Perform experiments that will provide information about acceptable methods of nuclear material usage, nuclear fuel reclamation, or waste disposal.
  • Discuss construction project proposals with interested parties, such as vendors, contractors, or nuclear facility review boards.
  • Keep abreast of developments and changes in the nuclear field by reading technical journals or by independent study and research.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
  • Experience - A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

Knowledge

  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • 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.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Skills

  • 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.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Operations Analysis - Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Related careers

  • Aerospace Engineers
  • Civil Engineers
  • Electrical Engineering Technicians
  • Engineering Managers
  • Industrial Safety and Health Engineers
  • Marine Architects
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers
  • Petroleum Engineers
  • Physicists