Career as a Nuclear Engineer


Summary

Nuclear Engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Nuclear engineers use their knowledge about nuclear energy to solve engineering problems. Their work allows for the practical application of many discoveries by nuclear physicists and other scientists. Nuclear engineers have knowledge of the processes that produce nuclear energy and understand the properties of the radiation and radioactive atoms produced in nuclear reactions. They are trained to use this specialized knowledge in design, construction, research, and development.

Sometimes Nuclear Engineers work chiefly in design engineering. They often design and develop new devices used to generate nuclear power, such as nuclear reactors. They also may develop equipment used to process nuclear fuels and dispose of radioactive waste materials. Some nuclear engineers design equipment that makes use of radioactive materials to solve a wide variety of problems in agriculture, medicine, science, and industry. Other engineers work closely with scientists in the development of equipment and methods to be used in nuclear research. Their work may help scientists to gain more knowledge about the structure and dynamics of matter and energy as well as lead to new ways of producing and using nuclear energy.

Sometimes Nuclear Engineers work in a specific construction project or in on-site engineering. For example, they may work at the construction site of a new nuclear power plant. On-site engineers work closely with other specialists and supervise the part of the construction for which they are responsible.

The duties of Nuclear Engineers typically includes to design or develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores, radiation shielding, and associated instrumentation, direct operating or maintenance activities of operational nuclear powerplants to ensure that they meet safety standards. They also write operational instructions to be used in nuclear plant operation or in handling and disposing of nuclear waste and monitor nuclear facility operations to identify any design, construction, or operation practices that violate safety regulations and laws. It also involves performing of experiments to test whether methods of using nuclear material, reclaiming nuclear fuel, or disposing of nuclear waste are acceptable. To take corrective actions or order plant shutdowns in emergencies and examine nuclear accidents and gather data that can be used to design preventive measures.

Work Environment

Working conditions for nuclear engineers vary according to the job. Nuclear engineers involved in design usually work in well-lighted offices. They may have to work overtime to meet deadlines or handle unforeseen problems. Some engineers need to travel from assignment to assignment. Nuclear engineers employed by nuclear power plants or factories that make or use nuclear equipment sometimes have to work weekends and evening shifts.

Entry Level Education

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, or in Engineering.
  • Master's / Doctorate Degree in Nuclear Engineering.

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