Nuclear engineering

By: Michael Justis

Job Duties

-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

-Write operational instructions to be used in nuclear plant operation or in handling and disposing of nuclear waste

-Monitor nuclear facility operations to identify any design, construction, or operation practices that violate safety regulations and laws

-Perform experiments to test whether methods of using nuclear material, reclaiming nuclear fuel, or disposing of nuclear waste are acceptable

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Skills

-Analytical skills. Nuclear engineers must be able to identify design elements to help build facilities and equipment that produce material needed by various industries.

-Communication skills. Nuclear engineers’ work depends heavily on their ability to work with other professional engineers and technicians. They need to be able to communicate effectively, both in writing and face to face, with technicians and engineers from other fields.

-Logical-thinking skills. Nuclear engineers design complex systems. Therefore, they must be able to order information logically and clearly so that others can follow their written information and instructions.

-Math skills. Nuclear engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

-Problem-solving skills. Because of the potential hazard posed by nuclear materials and by accidents at facilities, nuclear engineers must be able to anticipate problems before they occur and suggest remedies.

Working Conditions

-Typically work in offices

-Work setting varies depending on the industry that employs them

-Nuclear engineers employed in power generation often work in power plants

-Many also work in laboratories

-Nuclear engineers work with other fields such as mechanical engineers and electrical engineers

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Education needed

Entry-level nuclear engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree. Students interested in studying nuclear engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; and science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics

Interests

-Math

-Science

-Problem-solving

-Engineering

-Robotics

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Values

-Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

-Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

-Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

-Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

-Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Salary and Outlook

Median - $104,000

10% - $69,000

90% - $150,000

It is expected to grow by 9% over the next 10 years