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Nuclear Engineering

  1. Apr 4, 2006 #1
    I am a Mechanical Engineering major and my school has recently revived its Nuclear Engineering classes. They are comming out with a 3 course sequence followed by 2 electives for a certificate of Nuclear Engineering to be added to my degree. To do this I would have to use my 3 technical electives on the Nuclear Eng classes. Would you advise that I do this? I know that my technical electives will impact my job search upon graduation and I wanted to know what kind of demand there will be for a ME major with Nuclear Engineering knowledge? Wouldn't a company just hire a nuclear engineer? I know that there are not a lot of NE's but there are not a lot of plants.

    They are saying that Nuclear energy is the future with the new energy bill being passed and the incentives to build those plants now. I will be starting a CO-OP this summer for Relaint Energy so I will have some power plant experience. It sounds very interesting, I just don't want to back myself into a corner bu concentrating all tech electives in nuclear engineering. I really need advice.

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2006 #2
    To meet future energy demands is going to require the use of nuclear technology.
  4. Apr 4, 2006 #3
    I think that you will find a lot more jobs in engineering than physics, but thats not the only issue. You ultimatly have to decide what you want to do, then change your mind 2 years down the road an loose credits like the rest of us!
  5. Apr 4, 2006 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    At the moment, there is high demand for nuclear engineers or ME's with a nuclear background, and the salaries are at the top.

    What are the NE courses - would they be nuclear physics or reactor theory.

    Most nuclear engineering programs are heavy on ME anyway - thermodynamics, hydraulics and mechanics.

    Another alternative would be to take materials science or engineering courses, or mechanics of materials (if one hasn't already).

    In what type of engineering is one planning to practice? One could do thermodynamics, hydraulics, mechanics, turbomachinery, corrosion, etc.
  6. Apr 4, 2006 #5
    these are the first 3 core clases

    ENGR 1700 Introduction to Nuclear Engineering
    Introduction to nuclear science and technology; applications of
    nuclear engineering; careers in nuclear industry; nuclear history;
    reactor types; elementary nuclear and reactor physics; nuclear
    radiation and safety; fuel cycle; regulations and sustainability.

    ENGR 1701 Fundamentals of Nuclear Reactors (Spring 2007)
    Nuclear physics, fission and fusion; cross-sections; neutron flux and
    slowing-down; diffusion and transport; criticality condition and
    calculations; reactor kinetics and shielding; heat generation,
    transfer and cooling; reactor materials; reactor structure.
    Prerequisite: ENGR 1700.

    ENGR 1702 Nuclear Reactor Systems Design (Fall 2007)
    Current and future reactor systems; nuclear power plants; balance of
    plant configuration; fuel cycle management; reactor operation
    principles; reactor plant economics; analysis and design of nuclear
    systems; design projects. Prerequisite: ENGR 1701.

    These will be followed by two Nuclear Engineering electives. Does it look like a good educational path with a promising future, or limit my options upon graduation?
  7. Apr 5, 2006 #6


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    2015 Award

    I think the nuclear option will be a hands down winner. The energy [electrical] infrastructure in the US is aged and nearly obsolete. I foresee a huge demand for a newer, safer generation of nuclear powered reactors in the US. The worst thing that can happen in your case, IMO, is an extra semester of alternative energy technology courses at some point in the future.
  8. Apr 5, 2006 #7
    Would it be bad to concentrate all of my electives in the Nuclear Engineering direction?
  9. Apr 6, 2006 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Not necessarily, but that depends on where you would like to go academically and professionally. If one is interested in power systems, or nuclear engineering, then concentrating most or all electives in nuclear engineering is the way to go.

    The three courses:

    ENGR 1700 Introduction to Nuclear Engineering

    ENGR 1701 Fundamentals of Nuclear Reactors
    (basically Introductory Nuclear Reactor Physics)

    ENGR 1702 Nuclear Reactor Systems Design
    (Plant design incorporating concepts in Reactor Physics, Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, and perhaps Materials and Mechanics of Materials).

    from the core of an undergraduate nuclear engineering program. NE's would also take courses in nuclear physics (radiation), health physics, environmental protection, but otherwise, they take ME and EE courses.

    I found courses in Materials Science and Engineering of use, and also in Corrosion and Control Theory.

    A lot depends on the area of interest. If one is more interested in Mechanical or Structural design, the take more ME or Mechanics/Structural Eng. Courses.

    I would recommend electives in the areas of Finite Element Analysis, Computational Fluid Dynamics and Materials. These areas are in demand across the disciplines of engineering.

    I would also recommend graduate school for an MS at least.
  10. Apr 7, 2006 #9
    I am just worreid that I would be forever linked to the location of Nuclear power plants and having little choice in where I live. Will the jobs incorporated with the furture of Nuclear Engineering be spread out?
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