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-   -   US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion) (http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=496881)

aliaze1 May7-11 08:45 PM

US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Anybody here who has gone through the Navy's Nuclear Propulsion program?

Wanting to get some insight on the program

OmCheeto May7-11 09:15 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by aliaze1 (Post 3289135)
Anybody here who has gone through the Navy's Nuclear Propulsion program?

Wanting to get some insight on the program

Yes, as an enlisted. But it was 34 years ago. I'm sure things have changed.

NUCENG May7-11 09:38 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by OmCheeto (Post 3289166)
Yes, as an enlisted. But it was 34 years ago. I'm sure things have changed.

I retired from the Navy as a submarine warfare officer and was qualified as Engineer Officer for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Plants. The last few years I was in was as a training officer in the reserves. That was 20 years ago, but I can try. What would you like to know?

Xelera May8-11 12:39 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
I was a Machinist Mate/Engineering Laboratory Technician back in the 90's, on board USS Henry M. Jackson, SSBN 730 Gold Crew.

Currently a Senior Reactor Operator at a University Research Reactor, where we still hire some ex-navy operators, though they have been passing us up lately, for more lucrative jobs in the commercial power sector.

aliaze1 May8-11 05:08 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
I am graduating from an EE program (top 10) and am looking into career opportunities. I have been interested in Nuclear Power for a while (considered Nuclear Engineering for a LONG time), and too a few Nuclear Engineering classes.

I was considering the Nuclear Propulsion program, but it almost feels like the Navy gets the better deal, since I took out my own loans. Also, would a Nuc officer be doing the same work as an enlistee? My friend (former enlistee nuke) says that as an officer I'd probably get my loans paid off by the Navy and that I would probably get a decent signing bonus

The power school instructor job seems really cool, but my gpa is not high enough Same probably goes for reactors engineering job (3.0 gpa) :(

As a propulsion officer, does one get to choose if they get to be surface or submarine? I am single, no prospective significant others yet, as such factors would of course make this a little harder to do. The time commitment (5 years I think) is of course a bit daunting

Also, it seems at times that only people who "couldn't make it anywhere else" choose the military....I mean, I understand this is likely not the case...but you know, the stereotype is there :(

Any more info? experience? Fill me in

Thanks!

NUCENG May8-11 05:16 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
https://www.netc.navy.mil/nnptc/command_info.htm

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/navy/l/blnukeschool.htm

http://www.squidoo.com/proudnavymom

Some fun t-shirts!

Dmytry May8-11 05:37 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by aliaze1 (Post 3290505)
As a propulsion officer, does one get to choose if they get to be surface or submarine? I am single, no prospective significant others yet, as such factors would of course make this a little harder to do. The time commitment (5 years I think) is of course a bit daunting

Also, it seems at times that only people who "couldn't make it anywhere else" choose the military....I mean, I understand this is likely not the case...but you know, the stereotype is there :(

That's kinda true for many other organizations, not just the military... e.g. I'm making more working independently than typical software engineer at my age, and my career opportunities are unlimited - I can hire people to work under me, expand the business, etc. Typical software engineers employed at companies are mostly people who couldn't make a successful company themselves, something which a qualified software engineer should be able to do. (But of course there's also the top software engineers who founded the company or were given good stock options, those do make a lot of money).

Have you considered career not involving nukes? There is a lot of jobs for electrical engineers.

NUCENG May8-11 07:23 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by aliaze1 (Post 3290505)
I am graduating from an EE program (top 10) and am looking into career opportunities. I have been interested in Nuclear Power for a while (considered Nuclear Engineering for a LONG time), and too a few Nuclear Engineering classes.

I was considering the Nuclear Propulsion program, but it almost feels like the Navy gets the better deal, since I took out my own loans. Also, would a Nuc officer be doing the same work as an enlistee? My friend (former enlistee nuke) says that as an officer I'd probably get my loans paid off by the Navy and that I would probably get a decent signing bonus

The power school instructor job seems really cool, but my gpa is not high enough Same probably goes for reactors engineering job (3.0 gpa) :(

As a propulsion officer, does one get to choose if they get to be surface or submarine? I am single, no prospective significant others yet, as such factors would of course make this a little harder to do. The time commitment (5 years I think) is of course a bit daunting

Also, it seems at times that only people who "couldn't make it anywhere else" choose the military....I mean, I understand this is likely not the case...but you know, the stereotype is there :(

Any more info? experience? Fill me in

Thanks!

Submarine duty is still a voluntary choice. Recent changes to allow women to serve and to eliminate smoking haven't changed that. The largest number of billets in nuclear propulsion is for submarines. All officers on subs are nuclear trained except the Supply officer and Weapons officers on SSBNs. You might limit your chance of selection if you want to avoid submarine duty. Personally I spent a few months when I was enlisted on an aircraft carrier, and would never have wanted any more of that. 24/7 in a dangerous, noisy steel labrynth with 5000 of your closest strangers.

As to the stereotypes about military service, if you really care about what others think you may not have the self-confidence it takes to get through the training. In six months of nuclear power school and six months of prototype training you are going to be challenged mentally and physically. Once in the fleet your training and qualification will continue at an intense pace. Until you qualify to stand watches, you are a non-qual, synonym for useless. As an officer you will stand training watches with every station manned by enlisted sailors as part of your qualification as Engineer Officer of the Watch. You will also be assigned as a division officer, responsible for some of the sailors you work with. You will never again accept the sterotype that these men and women couldn't make it anywhere else.

Once you are qualified to stand watches, you will be supervising the watchstanders on duty. You will be responsible for operation of the reactor and responding to alarms and problems in the control room or Maneuvering Room. Meanwhile you will have other training and qualifications to complete while continuing to run your division. You will be working on your qualifications as a submarine or surface warfare specialist. You will be working on standing watches in other parts of the ship.

You will be at sea for long periods. In-port or in a shipyard the work seems harder, because you know the beach is just outside the gate.

My advice is talk to a navy recruiter and get actual answers about signing bonuses and loan payoffs. You don't have to sign up to get answers.

aliaze1 May8-11 07:35 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by NUCENG (Post 3290678)
. 24/7 in a dangerous, noisy steel labrynth with 5000 of your closest strangers.

Just for clarification, this is referring to the aircraft carrier right? I take it you were on a submarine most of your time?


Quote:

Quote by NUCENG (Post 3290678)
Once you are qualified to stand watches, you will be supervising the watchstanders on duty. You will be responsible for operation of the reactor and responding to alarms and problems in the control room or Maneuvering Room. Meanwhile you will have other training and qualifications to complete while continuing to run your division. You will be working on your qualifications as a submarine or surface warfare specialist. You will be working on standing watches in other parts of the ship.


It would seem (rightfully so) that there is a lot of pressure as a reactor operator...is there anyone else to consult? Lots of information in one's head, sometimes it's hard to access it all you know?

Also, is the job of a nuclear propulsion officer any different than a nuclear propulsion enlistee, aside from the supervisory things? I feel like my years in an engineering program should mean something right?

Thanks

turbo May8-11 07:50 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
My nephew is not a "forum" person or I'd ask him to jump in. A couple of years back, he had hit a wall as a Chief, despite being the top-rated chief out of more than 120 on his carrier. He accepted an appointment to propulsion school and a commission as warrant officer after the completion of his training. Not bad for a kid from a low-grade HS in rural Maine.

Dmytry May8-11 07:51 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by NUCENG (Post 3290678)
As to the stereotypes about military service, if you really care about what others think you may not have the self-confidence it takes to get through the training. In six months of nuclear power school and six months of prototype training you are going to be challenged mentally and physically. Once in the fleet your training and qualification will continue at an intense pace. Until you qualify to stand watches, you are a non-qual, synonym for useless. As an officer you will stand training watches with every station manned by enlisted sailors as part of your qualification as Engineer Officer of the Watch. You will also be assigned as a division officer, responsible for some of the sailors you work with. You will never again accept the sterotype that these men and women couldn't make it anywhere else.

making it somewhere else is about being a grown up independent person who can set his/her own goals and achieve them, not about being able to do stuff you're told to do.

aliaze1 May8-11 08:08 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by Dmytry (Post 3290712)
making it somewhere else is about being a grown up independent person who can set his/her own goals and achieve them, not about being able to do stuff you're told to do.

Yea I regret mentioning anything about military stereotypes....I was flat out wrong...

Dmytry May8-11 08:20 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by aliaze1 (Post 3290728)
Yea I regret mentioning anything about military stereotypes....I was flat out wrong...

Well it is kind of the case for real that military has a lot of people who wouldn't be in military if they could get a normal job, relationship, etc. I'd really recommend you to rethink it. The military is going to train you real hard. You could instead opt to train/work yourself this hard, and get yourself a good civilian job.

NUCENG May9-11 05:26 AM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by aliaze1 (Post 3290689)
Just for clarification, this is referring to the aircraft carrier right? I take it you were on a submarine most of your time?

That is correct.



It would seem (rightfully so) that there is a lot of pressure as a reactor operator...is there anyone else to consult? Lots of information in one's head, sometimes it's hard to access it all you know?

Also, is the job of a nuclear propulsion officer any different than a nuclear propulsion enlistee, aside from the supervisory things? I feel like my years in an engineering program should mean something right?

Thanks

The enlisted watchstanders have also been through a year of nuclear power school and prototype training. They have detailed training as reactor operators, electrical operators, mechanics, instrumentation and controls, and chemistry. You have a senior petty officer or chief as a watch supervisor to support you and perform on the spot supervision outside the control room. The ship's Engineer (Scotty to you trekkies) and senior officers will always be available for questions, and are likely to be standing there in their skivvies when things go wrong. As an officer you won't be pulling or inserting rods at the reactor control panel or operating valves in the plant, But you will need to know enough to back the others up with the more intensive training you receive on integrated plant operations, casualties, and procedures.

NUCENG May9-11 05:49 AM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Quote:

Quote by aliaze1 (Post 3290728)
Yea I regret mentioning anything about military stereotypes....I was flat out wrong...

No problem.

I don't know how much of the forum you have read. But so you are informed. Dmytry is apparently in Lithuania and runs his own business in software development. I don't know where he gets his ideas about life and the quality of personnel in the US Navy. Don't just take my word for it. Do your research. Get your recruiter to provide you with all the information you can get. Find other vets who can give you both sides of the life you will have. Whether you go into the military or into engineering as a civilian, good luck.

Astronuc May9-11 05:58 AM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
I suggest reading these:

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/45607main_NN...1_12-20-02.pdf

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/45608main_NN...t2_7-15-03.pdf

http://pbma.nasa.gov/docs/public/pbm...4_SOFTWARE.pdf

ses.gsfc.nasa.gov/ses_data_2005/050405_NNBE_PBMA_KMS.ppt

They give some insight into the Navy system and process. Anyone involved in the nuclear industry should be aware of how the Navy does it.

Dmytry May9-11 06:58 AM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
Well the OP himself is an example of a person somewhat on the fence for joining the military, who would not think of joining if he could find a civilian job in the field that interests him, or had personal ties that would interfere. I simply don't think it is really uncommon. Joining the military is a serious decision that has massive disadvantages due to exclusion of personal life; for many people those disadvantages would outweight the benefits, for some them don't.

aliaze1 May9-11 01:52 PM

Re: US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)
 
I had considered the program many times, but due to some prejudice against all things military (my family is of Indian descent, they are not very fond of the military over there), I never gave it serious thought. I guess the impression I had growing up was that 1. People who can't make it elsewhere, go to the military since they "take everyone". 2. You are basically signing your life away. 3. You are basically asking to get put into harm's way. Now mind you, I am not planning on joining the Marines or anything, nor do I really like the idea of combat, but I figured frankly speaking, nobody messes with our navy.

Does the training period ("A" school, and Nuclear Power school) count towards the commitment time?

NUCENG, how long were you in the service? What did you do after active duty ended? Why did you prefer submarine duty over aircraft carrier duty? Both seem dangerous in their own ways.


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