What Do Nuclear Power Reactor Operators Do

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz




Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators operate or control nuclear reactors. Move control rods, start and stop equipment, monitor and adjust controls, and record data in logs. Implement emergency procedures when needed. May respond to abnormalities, determine cause, and recommend corrective action.

Salary: $104470
Salary Rank: A
Education: No degree required
Becoming One: Medium
Job Satisfaction: Low
Job Growth: Low
Suitable Personality: The Builder

Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius


What they do

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators operate or control nuclear reactors. Move control rods, start and stop equipment, monitor and adjust controls, and record data in logs. Implement emergency procedures when needed. May respond to abnormalities, determine cause, and recommend corrective action.

  • Operate nuclear power reactors in accordance with policies and procedures to protect workers from radiation and to ensure environmental safety.
  • Adjust controls to position rod and to regulate flux level, reactor period, coolant temperature, or rate of power flow, following standard procedures.
  • Develop or implement actions such as lockouts, tagouts, or clearances to allow equipment to be safely repaired.
  • Direct reactor operators in emergency situations, in accordance with emergency operating procedures.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Nuclear Power Reactor Operators monitor all systems for normal running conditions, performing activities such as checking gauges to assess output or the effects of generator loading on other equipment. They operate nuclear power reactors in accordance with policies and procedures to protect workers from radiation and to ensure environmental safety.

A typical day for a Nuclear Power Reactor Operator will also include:

  • Monitor or operate boilers, turbines, wells, or auxiliary power plant equipment.
  • Dispatch orders or instructions to personnel through radiotelephone or intercommunication systems to coordinate auxiliary equipment operation.
  • Authorize maintenance activities on units or changes in equipment or system operational status.
  • Supervise technicians’ work activities to ensure that equipment is operated in accordance with policies and procedures that protect workers from radiation and ensure environmental safety.
  • Record operating data, such as the results of surveillance tests.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Nuclear Power Reactor Operators also authorize actions to correct identified operational inefficiencies or hazards so that operating efficiency is maximized and potential environmental issues are minimized. They may also conduct inspections or operations outside of control rooms as necessary.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Nuclear Power Reactor Operators supervise technicians’ work activities to ensure that equipment is operated in accordance with policies and procedures that protect workers from radiation and ensure environmental safety. They might also develop or implement actions such as lockouts, tagouts, or clearances to allow equipment to be safely repaired.

In addition, they authorize maintenance activities on units or changes in equipment or system operational status.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them note malfunctions of equipment, instruments, or controls and report these conditions to supervisors.

To some Nuclear Power Reactor Operators, it is also their responsibility to respond to system or unit abnormalities, diagnosing the cause, and recommending or taking corrective action.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction
Low
Is this job meaningful
Very High

63% said they were satisfied with their job and 72% said they found their job meaningful.

Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).


Salary

Average salary
$104470 per year
Average hourly wage
$50 per hour

Entry-level Nuclear Power Reactor Operators with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $76,360 to $90,600 per year or $37 to $44 per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $64 $133,170
Senior (Top 25%) $58 $121,120
Middle (Mid 50%) $50 $104,040
Junior (Bottom 25%) $44 $90,600
No experience (Bottom 10%) $37 $76,360

How to become one

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


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