Summary Report for:
19-4051.01 - Nuclear Equipment Operation Technicians
Operate equipment used for the release, control, or utilization of nuclear energy to assist scientists in laboratory or production activities.
Sample of reported job titles: Equipment Operator, Licensed Nuclear Operator, Non-Licensed Nuclear Equipment Operator (NLO), Non-Licensed Nuclear Plant Operator (NLO), Non-Licensed Operator (NLO), Nuclear Auxiliary Operator, Nuclear Equipment Operator (NEO), Nuclear Operations Specialist, Nuclear Plant Equipment Operator, Operations Technician
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Follow policies and procedures for radiation workers to ensure personnel safety.
- Monitor instruments, gauges, and recording devices in control rooms during operation of equipment, under direction of nuclear experimenters.
- Modify, devise, and maintain equipment used in operations.
- Perform testing, maintenance, repair, or upgrading of accelerator systems.
- Warn maintenance workers of radiation hazards and direct workers to vacate hazardous areas.
- Submit computations to supervisors for review.
- Calculate equipment operating factors, such as radiation times, dosages, temperatures, gamma intensities, or pressures, using standard formulas and conversion tables.
- Collect air, water, gas or solid samples for testing to determine radioactivity levels or to ensure appropriate radioactive containment.
- Decontaminate objects by cleaning them using soap or solvents or by abrading using brushes, buffing machines, or sandblasting machines.
- Follow nuclear equipment operational policies and procedures that ensure environmental safety.
- Identify and implement appropriate decontamination procedures, based on equipment and the size, nature, and type of contamination.
- Measure the intensity and identify the types of radiation in work areas, equipment, or materials, using radiation detectors or other instruments.
- Monitor nuclear reactor equipment performance to identify operational inefficiencies, hazards, or needs for maintenance or repair.
- Prepare reports to communicate information such as contamination test results, decontamination results, or decontamination procedures.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air compressors
- Borescope inspection equipment — Video borescopes
- Bridge cranes — Gantry cranes
- Diesel generators — Emergency diesel generators
- Digital camcorders or video cameras — Pipe camera inspection systems
- Dosimeters — Pocket dosimeters
- Eddy current examination equipment — Eddy current testing equipment
- Elevators — New fuel elevators
- Footwear covers — Protective shoe covers
- Frequency analyzers — Digital signal analyzers; Digital spectrum analyzers
- Gamma counters — Area gamma monitors; Scintillation detectors
- Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus — Metal active gas MAG welding equipment
- Hot cell remote handling equipment — Master-slave manipulators
- Hot cell remote viewing device — Hot cell remote viewing devices
- Leak testing equipment — Leak detection equipment
- Level sensors or transmitters — Level transmitters
- Metal inert gas welding machine — Metal inert gas MIG welding equipment
- Nuclear fuel rod — Fuel handling systems
- Nuclear reactor control rod systems — Control rod drives
- Nuclear reactor earthquake instrumentation — Seismic monitoring instruments
- Personal computers
- Pressure or steam cleaners — Pressure cleaners
- Protective coveralls
- Protective gloves
- Radiation detectors — Contamination probes; Digital ratemeters; Gamma exit/entrance contamination monitors; Radiation survey meters (see all 5 examples)
- Radioactive waste disposal systems — Spent fuel handling machines
- Remote reading thermometers — Non-contact thermometers
- Respiration air supplying self contained breathing apparatus or accessories — Self-contained breathing apparatus
- Respirators — Air purifying respirators; Airline respirators; Atmosphere supplying respirators; Pressure demand respirators
- Spectrometers — Multichannel analyzers
- Two way radios — Portable two way radios
- Ultrasonic examination equipment — Ultrasonic flaw detectors; Ultrasonic thickness gauges
- Vibration testers — Vibration monitors
- Water purification equipment — Condensate demineralizers
- Welder torch — Plasma arc cutting torches
Technology used in this occupation:
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Detailed Work Activities
- Prepare operational reports.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Communicate safety or hazard information to others.
- Monitor operational procedures in technical environments to ensure conformance to standards.
- Measure radiation levels.
- Clean objects.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Collect environmental data or samples.
- Identify sustainable business practices.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 95% responded “Extremely important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 87% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 71% responded “Extremely important.”
- Consequence of Error — 82% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Contact With Others — 68% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to Radiation — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 71% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 61% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Electronic Mail — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 56% responded “Very important results.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Exposed to High Places — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 45% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 56% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 28% responded “High responsibility.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 46% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 34% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 41% responded “About half the time.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 40% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Public Speaking — 36% responded “Every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|24||High school diploma or equivalent|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: RCI
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Nuclear Technicians.
Employment data collected from Nuclear Technicians.
Industry data collected from Nuclear Technicians.
|Median wages (2014)||$35.91 hourly, $74,690 annual|
|Employment (2014)||7,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Decline (-2% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||2,800|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Nuclear technicians . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.