A nuclear engineer designs, maintains, and operates nuclear power plants. Additionally, they are involved in the research and development of instruments, processes, and systems used in nuclear energy. However, many nuclear engineers work in government, electric power generation and transmission and distribution facilities. Next, watch the following video to learn how to become a nuclear engineer.
How to Become a Nuclear Engineer
High school students considering this career can take classes in science and math as early as possible. After high school, students must earn a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering to secure an entry-level job. Programs for a bachelor’s degree include laboratory, classroom, and field studies. Many colleges and universities have cooperative-education programs that would help pupils get experience while finishing their education. A 5-year program that achieves a bachelor’s and master’s degree can be found in some universities. In some cases, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is wanted by employers.
A graduate degree provides engineers the opportunity to work as an instructor at a university or do research. In fact, there are even 5-6 year programs that combine work and classroom study to help with the cost of their education. A master’s and Ph.D. program are made up of laboratory, classroom, and research efforts in engineering principles and advanced mathematics.
Job Description of a Nuclear Engineer
A nuclear engineer has direct maintenance or operating activities of nuclear power plants and is responsible for making sure all safety standards are met. They develop nuclear equipment, as well as design equipment that would be used with radiation shielding or reactor cores plus associated instrumentation. He or she develops instructional manuals that are used in disposing of waste or in nuclear plant operations. A nuclear engineer would oversee facility operations to safeguard the facility against any potential law and safety hazards or regulations and other areas of violation in their operational practices. They ensure this safety by conducting tests on the facilities methods of waste disposal and their handling of reclaimed nuclear fuel.
They also make the decision to shut down a nuclear facility in the event of an emergency. Nuclear engineers are involved in any corrective action necessary to be sure the plant continues to operate correctly by gathering information and data from any accidents that have occurred. In addition they put new designs in place for future preventative problems. A nuclear engineer works alongside electrical engineers and mechanical engineers and incorporate their designs into his or her own design. They must have analytical, math, problem-solving, and communication skills. They also need to be logical thinkers and be detail-oriented.
Nuclear Engineer Career 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 energy from disintegrating atoms, or from the fusion of atoms, and put it to use. Nuclear engineers develop a variety of applications for nuclear energy, including diagnosing and treating illnesses and in systems to power ships and spacecraft. Many of these engineers work with nuclear reactors, the source of energy for power plants to provide heat and electricity to many homes and businesses.
The resources used in nuclear power generate potentially dangerous radioactivity. So nuclear engineers in power plants develop safety practices and ensure that nuclear waste is disposed of with care. Their job doesn’t stop after designing cutting-edge new technology, they oversee operations and maintenance, and issue immediate emergency shutdowns if there are malfunctions. The majority of nuclear engineers work full-time for public utilities or engineering consulting firms. They sometimes collaborate with other kinds of engineers to improve each other’s system designs.
A bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering is the typical entry-level requirement for this field some positions require a master’s degree or Ph.D. Nuclear engineers carry a large responsibility to safely manage a resource many people have come to depend on.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Nuclear Engineer.
National Center for O*NET Development. 17-2161.00. O*NET OnLine.