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Oswego Career Ladders - Mechanical Engineer- Balance of Plant

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Mechanical Engineer- Balance of Plant




Katie Higgins

Years in this Position:
1 1/2 years

Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering

Job Description:
Monitors systems and trends in the plant outside of nuclear

What I like best about my job:
I like working with different departments, I am constantly learning and the everyday variety of what I do.

Advice I would give to someone interested in this job:
It's a great time to get into the nuclear industry and there a lot of opportunities in Constellation.

Industry: Energy
Area: Nuclear

Mechanical Engineers monitor and supervise areas involving heat transfer and fluid flow. This includes removing the heat generated by the reactor core, directing the energy to spin the turbine to generate electricity, providing emergency heat removal in case of an accident and circulating the water used to cool the reactor and regulate its temperature. Mechanical engineers will also supervise machinery design--matching the right component to the desired function, procuring the appropriate replacement parts and innovating designs to improve plant performance. Piping, valves, pumps, turbines, and diesel machines are the responsibility of mechanical engineers, as well as the organization, layout, and structural integrity of switch gear, cables, and other instrumentation.

Work Settings

A nuclear power plant is not all that different from coal, oil, or gas fired plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), part of our government, licenses the use of nuclear material and inspects users to make sure they follow the rules for safety.


A bachelor's degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level mechanical engineering jobs.

Job Outlook

Mechanical engineers are projected to have an average rate of growth through 2014. Additional opportunities will arise because the skills acquired in mechanical engineering often can be applied in other engineering specialties.


The average starting salary for Mechanical Engineers at the BS degree level is $50,000 - for MS degree level the average starting salary is $60,000. Wages for experienced mechanical engineers vary widely from $44,000 to $97,000.

Work Schedule

Many engineers work a standard 40-hour week. At times, deadlines may bring extra pressure to a job, requiring engineers to work longer hours.

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