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Nuclear Engineer Job Description

A nuclear engineer is an engineer who deals with the design, construction and operation of nuclear reactors and devices. Nuclear engineers perform tasks such as planning and designing the equipment and processes used in nuclear power plants, operating and maintaining nuclear power plants, and monitoring and measuring radiation levels from nuclear plants. They also develop methods to shield people from the harmful radiation produced by nuclear reactions and to ensure safe storage and disposal of fissionable materials.

A nuclear engineer should be creative, perceptive, quick-thinking, methodical and safety-conscious, and have the ability to perform system analysis and quality control analysis. They should have good knowledge of the physical and natural world and phenomena. They should also have good knowledge of nuclear energy, its uses, application, and the risk involved in its application.

Famous nuclear engineers include Leó Szilárd (researcher with the Manhattan Project, where he helped build the first nuclear reactor), Enrico Fermi (achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction), Robert Oppenheimer (led the team that built the first atomic bomb), Edward Teller (helped develop the U.S. hydrogen bomb), and Andrei Sakharov (developed the hydrogen bomb for the Soviet Union).

Pursue a career in nuclear engineering if have aptitude for mathematics and science, and interest in the concept and application of nuclear energy.

What does a Nuclear Engineer do?

Nuclear engineers may do some or all of the following:

Working Conditions

Nuclear engineers work in many industries such as in power sector, maritime, healthcare, food industries, and in the military. Their working conditions may vary from industry to industry, but they usually work normal office hours, with some overtime and weekend works. They may also be on call. They work in laboratories, offices and nuclear power plants.

What is Required to Become a Nuclear Engineer?

To become a nuclear engineer, you need a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering or a related discipline.

Secondary school students interested in studying nuclear engineering should take preparatory subjects such as chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus,


Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:


A nuclear engineer may specialize in any of the following fields:

Knowledge, Skills and Attributes

Nuclear engineers need to have:


Alternative Careers

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