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Nuclear engineering with aerospace background

  1. Sep 17, 2013 #1

    I am a student in physics engineering and I would like to work as a nuclear engineering later on in my career but we don't have a proper atomic and nuclear physics concentration in my program. We have optics, aerospace engineering and materials science that come as close candidates as a replacement, so I was wondering if you guys think I'm making a good decision by going in aerospace engineering concentration. I was thinking that maybe the knowledge that I will get concerning thermal reactors and thermal reactions could prove useful for nuclear engineering.

    Ideally I will go for a master's degree in nuclear engineering at a university that offers it. But for the moment I wonder if an employer in nuclear engineering would appreciate hiring an engineer with both aerospace/mechanical engineering and atomic and nuclear physics background.

    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2013 #2
    I am also wondering if nuclear engineering will still be in vogue considering what has happened with Fukushima. Do you think the interest in nuclear power will rise again in a few years or should I really consider another career?
  4. Sep 17, 2013 #3
    Nuclear power is here to stay. We don't even have a viable alternative to creating the energy we need. The problem is public perception and the fact that people fear what they don't really understand. I think we need to build better reactors, something a long the lines of the liquid fluoride thorium reactors. Look these up. Then we also have the ultimate power which is a type of nuclear reaction.Fusion. My point, you will find a job somewhere, whether that be a power plant, or government agency or whatever. I'm a nuclear engineering student
  5. Sep 26, 2013 #4


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    In the absence of atomic and nuclear physics or undergraduate nuclear engineering, a background in aerospace engineering and materials science would be valuable.

    While I majored in nuclear engineering (after having majored in nuclear/astrophysics), I took a number of courses in aerospace engineering, electrical engineering and materials science.

    Some of the big challenges involve materials, particularly radiation effects and corrosion. Advanced reactors often involve higher temperatures which means a more aggressive environment for materials. For materials, a hot, relatively new area is 'phase field theory' and 'atomic/molecular dynamics'. For older reactors, Gen II and Gen III, materials aging and degradation is a key area of interest. For nuclear fuel, the effects of long term dry storage and eventual disposition are areas of interest, as is the matter of 'accident tolerant' nuclear fuel.
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