Nuclear engineers develop the methods, instruments, and systems to harness the power of nuclear energy and radiation. They may work in any area of the nuclear power cycle from production and transport of fuel, to operation and monitoring of nuclear power stations, to disposal and containment of nuclear waste. They may also work on improving specialized medical imaging techniques.
Nuclear engineers need a bachelor's degree. Most have nuclear engineering degrees, but some may have advanced degrees in nuclear physics.
While there are some risks to working with radioactive material, there are excellent safety procedures to minimize those risks. Most nuclear engineers work a standard 40-hour week, although some projects or jobs may require different hours or overtime to meet deadlines.
The starting salary for a nuclear engineer (2009):
Design nuclear power systems for spacecraft.
- Develop medical or industrial uses for radioactive materials.
- Inspect and evaluate nuclear power plant, including those aboard ships or submarines.
- Research and design fusion reactor systems or specialized medical imaging equipment.
- Consult with law firms or medical research facilities on nuclear issues.