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Nuclear Engineering at Florida Power and Light

  1. Jun 11, 2013 #1

    My name is Zack Groothouse. I am new to this forum, although i have read the forum rules, please forgive me for any rules i break, or mistakes i make in my statements. I just recently graduated high school (2 weeks ago to be exact) and I am aspiring to be a nuclear engineer. I would like to start my career working on nuclear systems and maybe work my way up to perhaps work in labs and create new nuclear systems. My local college is offering a program that trains students to work at Florida Power and Light. I am afraid it will just be an operator or technician job where I would just be staring at meters and pushing buttons all day. Here is a link to the website (http://faculty.irsc.edu/dept/advancedtechnology/EPT/typical.html [Broken]). I was hoping some of you could give me some insight on whether I should join this program or opt out and perhaps look at other colleges that would lead me into the nuclear engineering industry. Please keep in mind, money is an issue as I am not too keen on taking loans out for college, if you could refer any programs or schools that would be most economical for me that would be much appreciated. I realize college is going to be expensive but I would like to be as frugal as possible. Again please forgive any errors I made.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2013 #2
    If you can stand the mind numbing bureaucracy, the insanely stupid politics, and the boring times punctuated by moments of terror, you'll do well.

    Seriously, the button pushing and operations of nuclear power plants is a good place to start with a hands-on view of what nuclear power is like. Then when you know what works and what isn't so good, you can think about building better systems. You will not learn this in a strictly academic program.

    In general I pity those who go to engineering school for four years and then march right up to a company and expect a job. They don't know much. It would be no different than some MBA going in to a company knowing nothing about what it does, and telling them how to make money. Riiiggght.
  4. Jun 11, 2013 #3
    Thank you very much. I will take that into consideration
  5. Jun 11, 2013 #4


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    You should be aware that FPL has bought up a bunch of generating capacity. Here in Maine, they bought up dams and other power generators, and Central Maine Power has retained possession of transformers transmission line etc. Depending where you end up with FPL, you may end up in an area in which the generation facilities do not match your training/skills.
  6. Jun 11, 2013 #5
    As far as I am aware the program would be training me specifically for nuclear due to Indian river state college being in fort pierce along with an fpl nuclear plant. I think everyone that was trained in the program was hired at either the plant here or other nuclear plants but I'll ask about it before I apply. thank you
  7. Jun 11, 2013 #6


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    You're welcome, though be aware that past performance is no guarantee. Very large power companies like FPL can have internal pressures that moot their stated intentions. For instance, the nuclear power industry in New England has collapsed, and engineering specialists transferring here might have to have to transition to specialties in steam-generation, turbine efficiency, etc. Good luck to you, no matter what you decide. :smile:
  8. Jun 11, 2013 #7
    Thank you
  9. Jun 11, 2013 #8


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    I'm happy to help, if I can. As a process chemist in the pulp and paper industry, I had some supervisory duties with regard to power co-generation, and lots of stuff changed over the years. Some changes were good - some were less so.
  10. Jun 12, 2013 #9
    That program sounds like a good thing if you want to be an operator at a power plant. If you work hard enough and have enough talent, you might be able to move up to a senior reactor operator and on into management eventually. You won't become a nuclear engineer that way though. It pays well though.

    If you want to "work in labs and create new nuclear systems" you will probably have to go the academic route: BS in Engineering, and most likely onto some kind of graduate degree.

    From my observations of and brief experience in the nuclear industry, *most* people in it are not nuclear engineers. And many of the ones who are don't do nuclear engineering. Something to think about.
  11. Jun 15, 2013 #10
    Thank you, I think I will do the academic route so i can be more versatile with other companies, I'm thinking of doing mechanical engineering to "get my foot in the door" with the industry and see where it goes from there. That being said am I able to get core classes done at a state college (English, history, etc.) then transfer them to a university and pursue education in this field?
  12. Jun 15, 2013 #11
    Usually, yes, although it depends. You have to check with the university you ultimately want to graduate from and ask them if they will transfer credits from your local school. You don't want to go through a whole semester just to find out that they wont take your credits and it was all for nothing.
  13. Jun 15, 2013 #12
    Ok thank you
  14. Jun 16, 2013 #13
    Honestly, mechanical engineering might be a better option in the long run anyway. Nuclear Engineering as a bachelors can pigeon hole you pretty bad.
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