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Oswego Career Ladders - Nuclear Engineer

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Nuclear Engineer




Mike Wilcox

Years in this Position:
15 years

Technical School and Experience

Job Description:
Looks at safety of the plant from the radiological standpoint.

What I like best about my job:
No two days are the same , there is constantly new challenges, and it requires "out of the box thinking".

Advice I would give to someone interested in this job:
Always keep your eyes open, come to work with an open mind and keep up with the changing technolgy.

Industry: Energy
Area: Nuclear

Nuclear Engineers make sure that the reactor core is configured and assembled correctly--according to the laws of reactor physics and heat transfer fluid dynamics--to use the nuclear fuel most efficiently and safety while producing electricity. They specify the fuel to be ordered, conduct a reload analysis of new fuel according to safety codes, and supervise its receipt of inspection. They also design the reactor shielding and conduct periodic surveillance tests to ensure that fuel limits are not exceeded and specidy and monitor tests on potential new fuel. Finally, they support the plant's staff in general troubleshooting and assessing operating abnormalities. They are also known as fuel engineers.

Work Settings

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


Graduate education is a prerequisite for employment as a design or research nuclear engineer, Typically, the educational requirements for an operating engineer are less rigorous: A bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering is one qualification.

Job Outlook

Nuclear engineers are expected to have good opportunities because the small number if nuclear engineering graduates is likely to be in rough balances with the number of job openings.


The average starting salary for Nuclear Engineers at the BS degree level is $51,000-- for MS degree level the avaerage starting salary is $58,000. Wages for experienced engineers vary widely from $61,000 to $115,000.

Work Schedule

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.

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