What Does A Nuclear Power Reactor Operator Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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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
Becoming One
Medium
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth
Low

Personality
Interest Match





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.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
7%

Very little freedom
25%

Limited freedom
38%

Some freedom
18%

A lot of freedom
12%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
7%

Very little freedom
23%

Limited freedom
34%

Some freedom
30%

A lot of freedom
6%


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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).

How much do they make

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

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
0%

40 hours
30%

More than 40 hours
70%

Working schedule

81%

19%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
0%

Important
0%

Very important
11%

Extremely important
89%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
53%

Fairly important
9%

Important
18%

Very important
12%

Extremely important
8%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
4%

Important
5%

Very important
39%

Extremely important
53%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
12%

Every day
88%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
3%

Every day
97%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
22%

Once a year
21%

Once a month
20%

Once a week
11%

Every day
27%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
2%

Once a year
18%

Once a month
27%

Once a week
38%

Every day
15%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
6%

Once a year
42%

Once a month
26%

Once a week
8%

Every day
18%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
90%

Once a year
8%

Once a month
2%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
28%

Slightly competitive
13%

Moderately competitive
45%

Highly competitive
8%

Extremely competitive
6%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
6%

Fairly important
9%

Important
10%

Very Important
21%

Extremely Important
54%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
0%

Minor impact
7%

Moderate impact
8%

Important impact
13%

Very important impact
72%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
7%

Once a year
11%

Once a month
1%

Once a week
9%

Every day
71%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
6%

Moderate responsibility
6%

High responsibility
22%

Very high responsibility
66%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
13%

Moderate responsibility
4%

High responsibility
49%

Very high responsibility
34%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
0%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
1%

Every day
99%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
19%

Once a year or more
42%

Once a month or more
15%

Once a week or more
16%

Every day
8%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
30%

Once a year or more
46%

Once a month or more
12%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
8%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
46%

Once a year or more
41%

Once a month or more
2%

Once a week or more
3%

Every day
8%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
50%

Post-Secondary Certificate
16%

Some College Courses
6%

Associate’s Degree or similar
13%

Bachelor’s Degree
15%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
15%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
11%

1 to 2 years
14%

2 to 4 years
34%

4 to 6 years
20%

6 to 8 years
3%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
3%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
4%

3 to 6 months
6%

6 months to 1 year
33%

1 to 2 years
30%

2 to 4 years
23%

4 to 10 years
4%

Over 10 years
0%

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.

95%

24%

14%

14%

43%

57%

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.

FAQ


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