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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: Nuclear Equipment Operator (NEO), Nuclear Auxiliary Operator, Equipment Operator, Nuclear Plant Equipment Operator, Non-Licensed Nuclear Equipment Operator (NLO), Non-Licensed Operator (NLO), Operations Technician, Licensed Nuclear Operator, Non-Licensed Nuclear Plant Operator (NLO), Nuclear Operations Specialist

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • 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.
  • Set control panel switches, according to standard procedures, to route electric power from sources and direct particle beams through injector units.
  • Adjust controls of equipment to control particle beam movement, pulse rates, energy or intensity, or radiation, according to specifications.
  • Communicate with accelerator maintenance personnel to ensure readiness of support systems, such as vacuum, water cooling, or radio frequency power sources.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Elevators — New fuel elevators
Frequency analyzers — Digital signal analyzers; Digital spectrum analyzers
Gamma counters — Area gamma monitors; Scintillation detectors
Radiation detectors — Contamination probes; Digital ratemeters; Gamma exit/entrance contamination monitors; Radiation survey meters
Remote reading thermometers — Non-contact thermometers
Respirators — Air purifying respirators; Airline respirators; Atmosphere supplying respirators; Pressure demand respirators
Two way radios — Portable two way radios
Ultrasonic examination equipment — Ultrasonic flaw detectors; Ultrasonic thickness gauges

Technology used in this occupation:

Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software; Data logging software; Database software
Spreadsheet software

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Knowledge

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.

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Skills

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.

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Abilities

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.

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Work Activities

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.

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Work Context

Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Consequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Exposed to Radiation — How often does this job require exposure to radiation?
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.

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Job Zone

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)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
24   High school diploma or equivalent Help
24   Associate's degree
21   Post-secondary certificate Help

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Engineering — Nuclear Engineering Technology/Technician
Physics/Astronomy — Radiation Protection/Health Physics Technician

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Credentials

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Interests

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.

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Work Styles

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.

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Work Values

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.

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Related Occupations

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51-8091.00 Chemical Plant and System Operators Green Occupation
51-8092.00 Gas Plant Operators
51-8093.00 Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
53-7071.00 Gas Compressor and Gas Pumping Station Operators
53-7072.00 Pump Operators, Except Wellhead Pumpers

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages data collected from Nuclear Technicians.
Employment data collected from Nuclear Technicians.
Industry data collected from Nuclear Technicians.

Median wages (2013) $34.91 hourly, $72,610 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 8,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Faster than average (15% to 21%) Faster than average (15% to 21%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 4,100
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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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 external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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