Nuclear Engineers
17-2161.00

Conduct research on nuclear engineering projects or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and use of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

Sample of reported job titles: Engineer, Nuclear Design Engineer, Nuclear Engineer, Nuclear Licensing Engineer, Nuclear Process Engineer, Nuclear Reactor Engineer, Radiological Engineer, System Engineer

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Initiate corrective actions or order plant shutdowns in emergency situations.
  • Monitor nuclear facility operations to identify any design, construction, or operation practices that violate safety regulations and laws or could jeopardize safe operations.
  • Design or develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores, radiation shielding, or associated instrumentation or control mechanisms.
  • Examine accidents to obtain data for use in design of preventive measures.
  • Direct operating or maintenance activities of nuclear power plants to ensure efficiency and conformity to safety standards.
  • Recommend preventive measures to be taken in the handling of nuclear technology, based on data obtained from operations monitoring or from evaluation of test results.
  • Write operational instructions to be used in nuclear plant operation or nuclear fuel or waste handling and disposal.
  • Conduct environmental studies on topics such as nuclear power generation, nuclear waste disposal, or nuclear weapon deployment.
  • Direct environmental compliance activities associated with nuclear plant operations or maintenance.
  • Prepare environmental impact statements, reports, or presentations for regulatory or other agencies.
  • Prepare technical reports of findings or recommendations, based on synthesized analyses of test results.
  • Develop or contribute to the development of plans to remediate or restore environments affected by nuclear radiation, such as waste disposal sites.
  • Conduct tests of nuclear fuel behavior and cycles or performance of nuclear machinery and equipment to optimize performance of existing plants.
  • Design or oversee construction or operation of nuclear reactors, power plants, or nuclear fuels reprocessing and reclamation systems.
  • Design or direct nuclear research projects to develop, test, modify, or discover new uses for theoretical models.
  • Design fuel cycle models or processes to reduce the quantity of radioactive waste generated from nuclear activities.
  • Consult with other scientists to determine parameters of experimentation or suitability of analytical models.
  • Perform experiments that will provide information about acceptable methods of nuclear material usage, nuclear fuel reclamation, or waste disposal.
  • Discuss construction project proposals with interested parties, such as vendors, contractors, or nuclear facility review boards.
  • Keep abreast of developments and changes in the nuclear field by reading technical journals or by independent study and research.

back to top

Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.

back to top

Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • 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.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • 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.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

back to top

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 80% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 56% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 48% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 50% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 59% responded “Important results.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 56% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 59% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Contact With Others — 48% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Consequence of Error — 46% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Time Pressure — 44% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Letters and Memos — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 50% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 44% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 46% responded “Very important.”
  • Exposed to Radiation — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Level of Competition — 50% responded “Moderately competitive.”

back to top

Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, conservation scientists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

back to top

Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

back to top

Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • 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.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

back to top

Knowledge

  • 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.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • 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.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • 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.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

back to top

Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 85%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 7%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 4%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

back to top

Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • 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).
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • 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.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • 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.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.

back to top

Interests

Interest code: IRC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • 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.
  • 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.

back to top

Work Values

  • Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • 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.

back to top

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • 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.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

back to top

Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$57.87 hourly, $120,380 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
13,900 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Decline (-2% or lower)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
700
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

back to top

More Information

back to top

back to top