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Engineering Careers in nuclear engineering.

  1. Apr 12, 2006 #1
    Is it possible to become a nuclear engineer with a first degree in mechanical engineering, as opposed to physics? basically, i'm asking if i would need to change my degree to become a nuclear engineer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2006 #2


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    To be a 'nuclear engineer', one would essentially need a degree in nuclear engineering. One possibility would be to obtain an MS degree in nuclear engineering if one already had a baccalaureate in ME.

    However, much of 'nuclear engineering' is mechanical engineering - mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, corrosion, and materials issues.

    The nuclear reactor/core is really where the 'nuclear' part of nuclear engineering is primarily focused, although radiation shielding and radiation sources are another area.

    Radiation protection is handled in a parallel discipline - radiation health physics.

    Manufacturers of nuclear systems and nuclear fuel employ mechanical engineers and process/chemical engineers to design/develop/manufacture (including supervision) the products (e.g. fuel and core components) and the process used in manufacturing. Utilities would hire ME's in various aspects of plant operation, but those activities related to the fuel and core are generally handled by nuclear engineers.
  4. Apr 12, 2006 #3


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    Does your school offer a nuclear engineering program? If so, see if you can set up a meeting with one of their undergraduate advisors and see what they recommend.

    I'm sure you can take your electives in upper level physics courses and whatever else the NucE's take instead of standard ME fare. The Master's program idea which Astronuc brought up is a good idea. Do make sure that you take any relevant electives you can to enroll as smoothly as possible. You wouldn't want to be stuck taking more Junior and Senior level courses before they let you take relevant grad courses.
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