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Most needed skills in Nuclear Engieering from an Mech Enginneering standpoint

  1. May 26, 2010 #1
    With the US not building too much at this point it seems like the general theme is to leverage existing assets and patch up what exists for the time being. With that being said for an ME student interested in nuclear energy what area should one focus on, fluid flows, stress analysis, FEA, material science, thermohydraulics which would offer the best entry point into the field. I would just take more nuclear classes, but at my institution the coursework and expertise in the area is somewhat limtied.

    Another question, while I am sure one must have knowledge about the nuclear process and stuff, I wonder if an advanced degree in nuclear engineering necessary if you are not working on the reactor or fuel design. I intend to break into the industry, but it is proving difficult gaining experience via internships and I am not likeing my chances at the momemt in securing employment. I do not want to work in a utilitiy where I just monitor performance in a valve or something. I was thinking a masters in pure ME might offer better flexibiltiy just in case the chips do not bounce my way.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2010 #2
    Any of those areas would be good. The reactor vendors, for example, have many experts in each of those fields, doing all sorts of analyses.

    An advanced degree in nuclear engineering is not necessary. The utility companies and the reactor vendors and the architect-engineers have many more mechanical / electrical / civil / and I&C engineers than they have nukes. And, even reactor and fuel design requires alot of mechanical engineering. There's plenty of room in the nuclear business for mech engineers.
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  4. Jun 4, 2010 #3
    I was wondering the same thing, that is, if I can get into the nuclear industry with my MS in ME.
  5. Jul 8, 2010 #4
    I applied to work at a nuclear plant when I had just got out of the nuclear navy, and I found out that the other guys I was applying with had very dissimilar backgrounds; one was an electrical distribution worker (power company) and the other guy was a cook with a high school diploma and no other background who worked at the plants cafeteria. I eventually turned down the job because I wanted to go back to school, and they were offering $64,000/year 'starting wage' prior to overtime (I 'really' want my degree, lol).

    If you have a MS in ME, then you stand a 'very good' to 'better-than-average' chance of getting a position. You'll at least be ahead of the curve. Just keep in mind that the schooling to get a civilian license is very intense, and you'll most likely be on a rotating shift schedule. Also, consider that saying "nobody is perfect". The slogan in the nuclear plant world slaps that quote in the face; if you screw up in the nuclear world, you loose your job and/or people die, so you have to be perfect all the time. For that reason, many people hate working in nuclear power because they find it stressful. Many others love it though. Ask yourself what you want, and if the money is worth the stress, which in my opinion it is. I hope this information helps you all.
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