Mech engineering work in nuclear reactors

In summary, the conversation discusses the role of mechanical engineers in building fusion or nuclear reactors, specifically in terms of stress and strain, heat transfer, corrosion, and other mechanical engineering tasks. It is also mentioned that mechanical engineers can work in control systems. The conversation also touches on the idea of engineers developing hybrid skills over time and their discipline in school being just the beginning.
  • #1
rfranceschetti
29
2
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.)
 
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  • #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.
 
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  • #3
@gmax137 Nice, thanks for your answer, mate. For what I've read, mechanical engineers can work in control systems as well, right?
 
  • #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.
 
  • #5
Cool. Are you an engineer yourself?
 

Related to Mech engineering work in nuclear reactors

1. What is the role of mechanical engineering in nuclear reactors?

Mechanical engineering plays a crucial role in the design, construction, and operation of nuclear reactors. Mechanical engineers are responsible for designing and maintaining the various components of a nuclear reactor, such as the pressure vessels, pumps, valves, and cooling systems. They also ensure that the reactor meets safety standards and can withstand extreme conditions.

2. What skills are needed for a career in mechanical engineering in nuclear reactors?

To work in nuclear reactors, mechanical engineers must have a strong background in physics, mathematics, and thermodynamics. They also need to be well-versed in computer-aided design (CAD) software and have a deep understanding of nuclear principles and regulations. Strong problem-solving and analytical skills are also essential.

3. What are the safety considerations for mechanical engineers working in nuclear reactors?

Safety is of utmost importance for mechanical engineers working in nuclear reactors. They must follow strict safety protocols and regulations to prevent accidents and ensure the safe operation of the reactor. This includes regular maintenance and inspections of equipment, as well as emergency response training.

4. How do nuclear reactors benefit from advancements in mechanical engineering?

Advancements in mechanical engineering have greatly improved the efficiency and safety of nuclear reactors. Advanced materials and designs have made reactors more reliable and resistant to extreme conditions. Additionally, new technologies, such as 3D printing, are being used to create specialized parts for reactors, making maintenance and repairs more efficient.

5. What are the future prospects for mechanical engineers in the nuclear industry?

The demand for mechanical engineers in the nuclear industry is expected to continue to grow in the future. With the increasing focus on clean and sustainable energy, nuclear power is seen as a crucial part of the energy mix. This means there will be a need for skilled mechanical engineers to design and maintain new nuclear reactors. Additionally, advancements in technology will create new opportunities for mechanical engineers in the nuclear field.

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