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Help me find my niche in the nuclear field

  1. Jul 15, 2013 #1
    Hello, I am entering my final year of a top 5 nuclear engineering program. My problem is that at this moment, I haven't exactly found my particular niche within nuclear engineering. The nuclear field is very broad and an undergraduate education includes a little bit of every other engineering field along with its own. My problem is, I'm not too sure I know what I want to focus on for graduate school and the rest of my life. I have been doing research with a professor for over a year with instrumentation and control. I enjoy it for the most part, but I do not want to work on it for the rest of my life, and I am looking to specialize in something different.

    Any recommendations to either a more obscure sub-field I am not aware of, or any hot fields right now. Just to help out with recommendations:

    No Interest in:
    Instrumentation and controls
    Reliability Eng.
    Nuclear Forensics/Security

    I also have a minor in Physics if that matters

    Thank you for any help or recommendations.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2013 #2


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    Besides what is not of interest, it would help to know what is of interest, e.g., neutronics or reactor/neutron physics (diffusion and transport theory), heat transfer, fluid mechanics, modeling & simulation, . . . .

    Materials is a broad area in and of itself. Designers of the reactor and nuclear fuel are faced with many challenges (and constraints) in trying to get the most out of the reactor and fuel while maintaining sufficient margin to various technical limits related to structural integrity and fission product retention. Degradation of materials is a critical matter in nuclear plant design and operation.

    Waste disposal and spent fuel storage/disposition are important areas, especially since the US has yet to decide on a final disposition of spent fuel.
  4. Jul 20, 2013 #3
    Thanks for the reply, and I apologize for the delay in responding. Modeling and simulation sound like something I might be interested in, but I don't really have any knowledge of it. What types of programming would this entail? SIMULINK? I am not too interested in any thermodynamics and I have taken upper level electives/grad classes in Monte Carlo theory and radiation physics. I think I would be interested in dealing with radiation interactions and nuclear collisions. However, I feel this might be more of a physicists realm. I would like to deal with radiation, but I don't want to be a health physicist and manage the risks of radiation to a business or public. I guess I just don't really know what all I could do with my interests/dislikes.

    Sorry for being kind of all over the place here. Just rambling.
  5. Jul 20, 2013 #4
    Have you considered nuclear detector research? There is a lot of hands on and modeling work for both. Also, just generic programming skills seems useful in modeling and simulation.
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