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Career Paths
Career Pathways Supported by AD Poly:
Non-Licensed Nuclear Plant Operator
A non-licensed operator supports the reactor operators and senior reactor operators. Duties include opening and closing valves, electrical breakers and other devices as well as directly monitoring plant equipment performance. Operators work in shifts. A non-licensed operator should have knowledge of system components and understand how they work. In addition, the individual must have the ability to communicate clearly and exercise immediate judgment during equipment malfunctions. Graduation from a secondary school is required, together with previous experience and one year of training. A minimum of a Diploma may be preferred. Students who graduate from the Higher Diploma in Nuclear Technology program can immediately begin their career as a non-licensed nuclear plant operator.
Nuclear Plant Operator
A nuclear reactor operator, licensed by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations, is responsible for operating a reactor’s controls in cooperation with the remainder of the shift team. The reactor operator moves control rods, starts and stops equipment, implements operations procedures, conducts surveillance tests and records data in logs. Operators work in shifts. A nuclear reactor operator must have detailed knowledge and understanding of nuclear plant mechanical and electrical systems, technical specifications, government regulations and operating processes and procedures. A reactor operator must be able to generate creative solutions to work situations and maintain high personal standards of performance, responsibility and professionalism. Graduation from a secondary school is required, as well as up to five years of experience as a non-licensed operator and one year of training. A Diploma, Higher Diploma, or Bachelor’s Degree may be preferred. A reactor operator must have a valid license from the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulations.
Senior Nuclear Reactor Operator
A senior reactor operator is licensed to operate a nuclear power plant in accordance with all regulations. Duties include operating the mechanical, electrical and reactor systems from the plant control room in a safe and efficient manner to ensure maximum electrical generation in compliance with regulations. A senior reactor operator must be knowledgeable about government regulations, guidelines, controls and procedures to protect the public and plant workers. Among the skills needed are the ability to implement and maintain effective planning and operating practices to maximum efficient operation, the ability to supervise plant operations and the ability to direct and implement emergency operation procedures and event reporting. Graduation from a secondary school is required, as well as five or more years of experience as a reactor operator, one year of additional training and a valid Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation Senior Reactor Operator license. A Bachelor’s Degree also may be required.
Mechanical Technologist
A mechanical technologist performs preventive, corrective and special maintenance on systems, components and structural facilities to ensure the reliability of a nuclear power plant. A mechanical technologist must be able to troubleshoot, inspect and rework a variety of valves, pumps and related equipment. The technologist also must coordinate and work with other maintenance personnel and work groups to complete job assignments. Graduation from a secondary school is required. Also, two to four years of experience may be desirable, together with the ability to pass examinations as required. Some employers require a minimum of a Diploma.
Electrical Technologist
An electrical technologist’s duties consist of the maintenance and repair of highly complex electrical/electronic equipment required for a nuclear plant. Responsibilities include troubleshooting, testing and inspecting in a highly skilled manner. An electrical technologist must be able to install, inspect, troubleshoot and test electrical equipment such as motors, generators, controllers, transformers, switchgear and circuit breakers and batteries. Graduation from a secondary school is required, as well as well as relevant work experience.
Instrumentation and Control Technologists
An Instrumentation and Control (I&C) technologist is responsible for calibrating, testing, troubleshooting, reworking, modifying and inspecting nuclear plant instrumentation and control components and systems. An I&C technologist must be able to measure and maintain the reliability and performance of nuclear plant control systems and instruments involving such work as inspecting, testing and diagnosing the operation conditions of the various plant components. Graduation from a secondary school is required, supplemented by specialized training in power plant instrument operation and maintenance. In addition, some employers require professional certifications.
Chemistry Technologists
A chemistry technologist measures and records plant chemistry and radioactivity levels, and operates chemical and radiochemical instrumentation and equipment. A chemistry technologist must be able to monitor, review and evaluate chemistry control conditions and initiate activities to correct adversely trending or our of specification conditions in a timely manner. Graduation from a secondary school is required, including chemistry and math courses. In addition, two years of experience are necessary, together with the successful completion of the required training and examination.
Radiation Protection Technologist
Radiation protection technologists measure and record radiation levels; in addition, they service and calibrate radiation protection instruments and equipment. They play a vital role in ensuring the safety of employees working in radiation areas, as well as the facility’s compliance with radiation requirements. A radiation protection technologist must be able to support the development of radiation protection instrumentation calibration procedures and instructions. In addition, the technologist evaluates radiological survey results and establishes means for plant workers to limit the amount of radiation they receive. Graduation from a secondary school is required, as well as two years of experience and on-the-job training and successful completion of the required training and examination.
Entry-Level Engineer
An entry-level plant engineer at a nuclear power plant has a range of responsibilities. Duties include helping to develop complex troubleshooting plans to support plant operations. The engineer also monitors, assesses and improves the performance and reliability of plant systems and components. He or she uses system indicators to monitor equipment performance or degradation and identifies and pursues material condition improvements, including predictive and performance-centered maintenance optimization. Among the skills an entry-level engineer needs are flexibility in times of change, good analytical and decision-making skills, the ability to meet deadlines consistently, and the ability to work well with others. An entry-level engineer also needs a demonstrated work ethic. An entry-level engineer needs a Bachelor's degree.
Experienced Engineer
An experienced or senior engineer at a nuclear power plant plans and coordinates programs and large-scale engineering projects or several medium projects while acting as a technical specialist for a specific engineering field. Duties include carrying out advanced engineering and technical tasks, and performing independent research, reviews, studies and analyses in support of technical projects. An experienced engineer also provides in-depth technical expertise to develop, manage and implement engineering activities related to plant safety, reliability, maintainability and availability. An experienced engineer must possess superior technical expertise as either a multi-disciplined technical leader or as a specific discipline expert. An experienced engineer performs independently in a specialty area and actively imparts knowledge to others. An experienced engineer must have a Bachelors degree or higher in engineering or a related science. A Professional Engineering Registration and advanced technical degree or coursework may be preferred. Typically, an experienced engineer has a minimum of 10 years of engineering experience and exceptional performance. Experienced engineers may or may not have a background in the nuclear industry; nuclear companies hire these engineers from many industries.