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Mech engineering work in nuclear reactors

  1. Mar 23, 2017 #1
    Hi all,

    I would like to know what's the kind of work a mechanical engineer has to perform when being part of the team encharged of building a fusion or a generic nuclear reactor. I find many areas in mechanical engineering attractive, but I believe that fusion reactors have great potential in delivering sustainable and efficient energy, so I wonder what a mechanical engineer has to offer when it comes to that.

    Also, could I extrapolate the question and include particle accelerators as well? (I suppose they all have the same basic principle. Correct me otherwise.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2017 #2
    I don't really know about fusion machines but in a fission power plant there is a huge amount of mechanical engineering. Stresses and strains during normal and upset conditions, heat transfer & fluid flow to get the energy from the core into turning the turbine, corrosion of the materials, changes in physical properties as the materials age, welding and bolted connections, pumps, valves, heat exchangers, piping design... and on and on. Most of the work is mechanical engineering, closely followed by instrumentation & control / electrical engineering. There are actually very few nuclear engineers working onsite.
  4. Mar 23, 2017 #3
    @gmax137 Nice, thanks for your answer, mate. For what I've read, mechanical engineers can work in control systems as well, right?
  5. Mar 23, 2017 #4
    Yes, Mech engineers can and do work in controls. You will find that engineers develop hybrid skills over time, sort of on the job training. The discipline or area (mech, elec, etc.) you pursue in school is just the beginning.
  6. Mar 23, 2017 #5
    Cool. Are you an engineer yourself?
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