Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Civilian Nuclear Engineer at Naval Shipyard

  1. Feb 1, 2015 #1
    I was recently offered a job by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to be a civilian Nuclear Engineer in the Nuclear Fluids and Mechanical Engineering Department. I will be graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in the spring (3.70 GPA), and have accepted this offer for employment, though its not too late to back out yet.

    What are your thoughts on working as a civilian nuclear engineer in a naval shipyard? Will it lead to good career opportunities in the nuclear field down the line? What does the daily work look like? I have always been interested in both the Aerospace and Nuclear industries, and I'm wondering if taking this job is the right choice for me.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2015 #2
    Lots of beurocracy. Technicians will be doing all the hands on work. You might have very long hours too when testing the reactor. The position his highly respected though and will no doubt look good on a resume if you decide to get another position.
  4. Feb 1, 2015 #3
    You probably wont do any hard core analysis or design work though unless you have a masters or PhD.
  5. Feb 1, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Well, when applying for a job, it is important to know one's duties and responsibilities. One may work on some practical problems and would be of values to the commercial nuclear industry.
  6. Feb 3, 2015 #5
    If you are comparing nuclear and aerospace industry, then although I do not live in USA, but I think nuclear may rise in near future there. Because once I read in newspaper that there are plans of privatization of NASA. So also look from that point of view if you want job security and want to make a "very big" career in an organization. If by aerospce you mean airline industry, then l like that industry very much, very broad future ahead.
  7. Feb 7, 2015 #6
    I know that I will be working on analyzing pumps, heat exchangers, piping, and nozzles that contain fluids in marine vessel propulsion and power plants! Hopefully that better describes my duties and responsibilities.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2015
  8. Feb 7, 2015 #7
    If this is a government job, you will be doing nothing but paperwork. Don't be fooled by the description.
  9. Feb 7, 2015 #8


    Staff: Mentor

    While there are plenty of government jobs that fit that description, there are also government jobs where people get to do actual technical analysis. The Navy's nuclear power program, because of its operational importance, is one area where such jobs can be found. My experience with naval shipyards is from twenty years ago, but I doubt things have changed that much, since the operational advantages of nuclear power for propulsion of ships and submarines have not changed.
  10. Feb 7, 2015 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    Based on my what I saw as a naval officer at a naval shipyard working with civilian engineers there (which, as I noted in my previous post, was twenty years ago, but I don't think things have changed that much), you will get a good understanding of how reactors for ship and submarine propulsion work, and you will get very good experience at working under pressure. (You will get plenty of experience working long hours and odd shifts too.)

    I'm not in close enough touch with the field now to know what the career picture is like (I haven't done anything connected with nuclear power since I left the Navy). However, as far as I know, experience in the Navy nuclear power program, civilian or military, is still considered very good experience, not just in the nuclear field, but in a wide range of fields.

    The best way to find this out is to visit and spend a day "shadowing" one of the engineers there.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook