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What do NukeE consulting jobs pay these days?

  1. Nov 11, 2014 #1
    Just curious. I am getting my B.S. in NukeE this December from Missouri S&T, and going immediately back for my Ph.D. I would like to make ridiculous amounts of money with a future Ph.D, if possible.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2014 #2
    Good luck with that. I'm not sure what "ridiculous amounts of money" means. If you mean getting vastly underpaid, that can happen real easily.

    Nuclear engineering is a field where there is a huge generation gap. There are the old timers who build the plants we have today. And then there are the new-comers who see new opportunities. The problem with the new opportunities is that while people hardly notice the tons of carbon dioxide and pollutants emerging from the stacks of coal fired power plants, they get irrationally scared of nuclear radiation, fearing that their kids will turn out funny or that it might go boom.

    Getting permission to build even a small scale plant is going to require a great deal of patience and perseverance. But maybe you have that kind of patience and perseverance. If you do, then perhaps you can some day make ridiculous amounts of money.
  4. Nov 12, 2014 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    What skill do you think you will have that will cause a business to believe it would rather have access to that than a ridiculous amount of money in the bank?
  5. Nov 12, 2014 #4


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    This is one of the best quotes I've seen on Physics Forums.
  6. Nov 16, 2014 #5


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    Not without experience. Even with a PhD, one would still be new in industry, and only if one had a substantial contribution to the profession would one command a substantial salary. I've seen PhDs work in industry for some years and then go out on their own and start a company, or companies. A number have done quite well.

    The R&D area is pretty much saturated at the moment. The large corporations have sufficient staff, and the 'nuclear renaissance' didn't take off as hoped. There are smaller corporations working on novel designs, e.g., small modular reactors (SMRs), but they are mostly adapting existing technology.

    Also, if one is employed at a company, that company owns the IP one develops.
  7. Nov 16, 2014 #6
    If you want to make "ridiculous" amounts of money, assuming that means "vast quantities of", then go into finance.
  8. Nov 18, 2014 #7
  9. Nov 19, 2014 #8
  10. Nov 19, 2014 #9
    I was thinking along the line of easily $100k+ (hopefully). I want to get into investments in the not too distant future (venture capital). I figure that if I can split a couple septillion atoms, I could make wise investments with money I have saved up over the course of working as a NukeE. Consulting sounds very attractive with respect to salary, but DOES require a substantial amount of industry experience and expertise. I will be working under a materials professor. I was contemplating two routes for my Ph.D. Either fusion materials (or general plasma materials research), or materials research towards the ageing/corrosion mitigation of LWRs in the US (I have been doing undergrad research for 2+ years on a NRC grant towards educating NukeE students on these concepts). If I go "balls-deep" into the field of corrosion and ageing mitigation of LWRs (wouldn't companies just hire metallurgy engineers for this?) do you think I could expect a decent outcome? Thanks for the input, everyone.
  11. Nov 23, 2014 #10


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    Most metallurgists would be missing courses on radiation effects in materials. Life extension and material characterization are big topics these days. The effects of neutron, beta and gamma radiation on structural materials would be common to fusion systems as well as LWRs, however, fusion systems generally use different alloys. The materials in current LWRs are more or less fixed, e.g., the pressure vessel and core supporting structures are not likely to be replaced. Reactor vessel heads and the upper structures can be replaced, but at considerable cost.

  12. Nov 23, 2014 #11
    move to california and get a regular engineering job, work your way up and you will be making more than 100k without the need for a phd
  13. Dec 16, 2014 #12
    Are there many opportunities (ideally several upon graduation for me to apply to) for NukeEs with research experience on radiation effects on materials? Do you have any idea what a realistic expectation for a Ph.D starting salary would be? I have not really examined the job market for materials-oriented NukeEs.
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