What Do Nuclear Engineers Do?

  • Engineering
  • Thread starter Delta Force
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  • #1
I'm not sure this is the right area of the forum for this, but I've been wondering about what types of things people do with nuclear engineering degrees, especially those who graduate from universities in areas where nuclear power is stagnant or in decline. The last major growth period for nuclear power was prior to the mid-1980s, especially in North America and Europe. While there are probably a lot of people from regions where nuclear power is growing who learn nuclear engineering from North American and European institutions its unclear what someone who lives in those stagnant/declining markets for nuclear energy would do with once they complete their training. The average age of a nuclear plant worker in the United States is quite high so it seems there isn't much turnover at civilian plants, and the United States Navy has difficulty with retaining people qualified in nuclear propulsion. The situation is probably even more dire in Europe since there are a lot more plant closings and only France and the United Kingdom operate nuclear powered ships and submarines. What types of things do new nuclear engineers do in those countries? Do they find work in another area of engineering or perhaps physics?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
anorlunda
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The industry is declining, but not dead. There are still several companies actively working to design more advanced, safer reactors. Existing reactors still need fuel. The fuel and fuel cycles are designed by nuclear engineers.

Regulators need nuclear engineers.

Military applications still need nuclear engineers.

NASA still needs nuclear engineers.

This news report (http://downtownschenectady.org/elysium-industries-open-office-downtown-schenectady/) is about a startup company establishing an office in a city where nuclear engineers live.

If you are thinking about a university program, ask where their most recent graduates found employment.
 
  • #3
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Reactor and accelerator-based neutron sources are also a possibility. Have a look at any of the spallation neutron sources around the world for example.
 
  • #4
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The one I knew best went into home inspections for real estate.
 

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