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Does anyone here work for ITER or familiar with its development?

  1. Sep 23, 2009 #1
    I am still working on my mechanical engineering degree and I am wondering what advice someone who is familiar with the program could give me regarding a future in the project.
    I am thinking about joining the Navy nuclear engineering program if I can get accepted. I think that five years hands on experience could serve me well. In that time I would like to earn a masters in a nuclear related field.
    I want to do my best to skip to a mid level position so that I can really help to push the development of the ITER project.
    Any advice that could help me do this, or perhaps guidance toward a better course of action would be great.
    Thank you
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2009 #2
    I can't think of anything the navy nuclear engineering program has in common with ITER, except the word "nuclear", which doesn't amount to much in practice.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if I wanted to work at ITER, I'd be getting a traditional PhD from a university in physics, with a concentration in plasma physics, fusion reactions etc.

    Of course I suppose there are lots of mechanical/electrical engineering jobs that might use some similar skills. If I wanted those, I'd be looking into an EE degree, not Navy Nuke.
  4. Sep 23, 2009 #3
    The reason I'm considering navy nuke is it would be the only way that I could get hands on and leadership experience in the high energy field. I understand many of the differences between the two techs, but I think I could learn about many of the systems that would have to be similar.
    Cooling and control parameters
    Understanding the outlying systems that would be used to manage the reactor.

    You have made me realize that I need to try and ask someone in the ITER project specifically what they would recommend. If I was to spend five years in the Navy, I would probably be pretty upset to learn that it would have no effect on my standing with ITER.

    Of course I am looking at this from the mechanical side. I have not fully considered what other fields I'll have to reach into as of yet. I figured it would be easier to do that once I have my first degree under my belt.
    I don't think anyone has ever been accused of being too prepared though....

    Do you think a PhD would be necessary at first or do you think that should be the overall goal?
    As you can see, I am still at the brain-storming stage.
  5. Sep 23, 2009 #4
    To your credit, you are checking into things. That second part seems pretty critical. . .

    People are accused of having the wrong qualifications all the time. The navy nuke program will teach you how to manage a fission reactor. I feel comfortable saying this will have little to no value at ITER.

    That depends on what you want to do. As you do your research, keep this in mind: most of the jobs at ITER are filled. Most of those that are filled have hundreds of potential replacements with longer CV's than you'll ever have (because theirs are growing, too). Simply figuring out what qualifications have gotten jobs at ITER is insufficient. You need to figure out what is needed to get a job there now.

    Having said that, I'd bet there's a good rotation of grad students going through the place. Most big projects like this add little to no permanent jobs, but just increase the number of temporary ones by a large margin. The LHC was certainly that way.
  6. Sep 23, 2009 #5
    I really need to find a good contact as a starting point. I think that the only advantage I could have in trying to get a foot in the door is showing that I am working towards ITER (or a further development) as my overall goal. I imagine that the politics behind an international project of this magnitude are crippling to those without the right connections.
    Having no connections at the moment makes for a pretty bleak outlook at the start I must say, but I have a few years to try and make them.
  7. May 22, 2011 #6
    I know this is response to an old post, but if it can help anyone, here's my 2 cents:

    If you decide to go the Navy Nuclear Power route, it won't be time wasted. Enlisted or commission. The side benefits of the training, education, and experience are invaluable. Many of the workers at the National Ignition Facility are ex-Navy nukes, from techs to upper management.

    BTW: what did you decide on?
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