What does a Nuclear Engineer do?

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What is a Nuclear Engineer?

Also known as: Reactor Engineer, Nuclear Reactor Engineer

A nuclear engineer researches and develops the processes, instruments, and systems used to get benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Many of these engineers find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials—for example, in equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment.

A Nuclear Engineer is a specialized type of Engineer.

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What does a Nuclear Engineer do?

A nuclear engineer will typically do the following:

  • Design or develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores, radiation shielding, or associated instrumentation
  • Monitor nuclear facility operations to identify any design, construction, or operation practices that violate safety regulations and laws
  • Examine nuclear accidents and gather data that can be used to design preventive measures
  • Write operational instructions to be used in nuclear plant operation or in handling and disposing of nuclear waste
  • Direct operating or maintenance activities of operational nuclear power plants to ensure that they meet safety standards
  • Perform experiments to test whether methods of using nuclear material, reclaiming nuclear fuel, or disposing of nuclear waste are acceptable
  • Take corrective actions or order plant shutdowns in emergencies

Nuclear engineers are also on the forefront of developing uses of nuclear material for medical imaging devices, such as positron emission tomography (PET) scanners. They also may develop or design cyclotrons that produce a high-energy beam that the healthcare industry uses to treat cancerous tumors.

What is the workplace of a Nuclear Engineer like?

Nuclear engineers typically work in offices. However, their work setting varies with the industry in which they are employed; for example, those employed in power generation and supply work in power plants.

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Further Reading

  • Nuclear Engineers Overview

    Nuclear engineers use mathematics and science to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work brings commercial applications and scientific discoveries together to meet consumer and social needs.

  • Nuclear Engineer

    Considerable preparation is needed for candidates going into this field. Engineers derive economical solutions to technical problems by applying scientific and mathematical principles.

  • Life As A Wife, Mother, And Nuclear Engineer

    For more than 15 years, nuclear engineer Sarah Kovaleski has worked in an industry where there are nine men to every woman. She explains how she became a leader in her field – and that belonging can mean being different.

  • Nuclear Engineers

    Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation.

  • How To Become A Nuclear Engineer: Career Path Guide

    If you want to become a nuclear engineer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a nuclear engineer.

  • So You Want My Job: Nuclear Engineer

    For this instalment, we interviewed Jack Gamble. Jack’s a nuclear system engineer. Many thanks to Jack and his green-glowing fingers for typing us out these answers.

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