Nuclear Reactor OperatorPrint
NUCLEAR REACTOR OPERATORS are responsible for the safe operation of a nuclear reactor. They operate and maintain the nuclear reactors in which the nuclear fission is produced. Nuclear fission creates the energy to run heat exchangers (to make steam), and turbine generators (to make electricity). They operate the controls for the reactor and other components that produce the electricity generated by the plant. They manipulate the controls in a power plant control room. They monitor automatic control systems for proper, safe, and reliable operation. They read and interpret recording instruments and operation indicators and manage controls in the reactor control room.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $76,000 average per year ($36.50 per hour)
- A small occupation (5,100 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.9% per year)
Employers of NUCLEAR REACTOR OPERATORS prefer high school and college graduates for entry-level trainee positions. Strong math and science skills are required. Experience in other power plants or with navy nuclear propulsion plants is helpful. Employers increasingly require computer proficiency, as computers are used to keep records, generate reports, and track maintenance. Nuclear reactor operators must be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Extensive training and experience are necessary to pass the NRC exams.