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Oswego Career Ladders - Chemical Engineer

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Chemical Engineer

Industry: Energy
Area: Nuclear

Chemical Engineers/Chemists are responsible for the plant chemistry of the primary system--water flowing through the reactor (Boiling Water Reactor and Pressurized Water Reactor plants) as well as other cooling and heat removal systems. They minimize the corrosion of plant piping and the degradation of other equipment by monitoring the different environmental conditions for the reactor coolant's-- temperature, pressure, and radiation--and by regulating the use of protective chemical additives. This helps keep the process of filtration and ion exchange working and also reduces the amount of material wearing off of plant components that may be carried into the reactor to become radioactive.

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 chemical engineering jobs.

Job Outlook

Chemical engineers are expected to have employment growth about as fast as average for all occupations though 2014. Many engineers work a standard 40-hour week. At times, deadlines or design standards may bring extra pressure to a job, requiring engineers to work longer hours.


The average starting salary for Chemical Engineers at the BS degree level is $57,000. The median salary is $78,000. Wages for experienced Chemical Engineers is $90,000.

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