What is a Nuclear Engineer?

A nuclear engineer researches and develops the processes, instruments, and systems used to get benefits from nuclear energy and radiation.

These types of engineers find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials — for example, in equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment.

What does a Nuclear Engineer do?

A nuclear engineer working inside a nuclear plant.

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.

Are you suited to be a nuclear engineer?

Nuclear engineers have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

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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.

Nuclear Engineers are also known as:
Nuclear Reactor Engineer Reactor Engineer