Engineering Career Resources

Nuclear Engineer Job Description

Nuclear Engineer Job Description

Nuclear engineers apply their knowledge of nuclear energy to solve engineering problems. They are well acquainted with and understand the properties of radiation and all the processes that produce nuclear energy. Nuclear engineers can be found in a number of different fields. Some may be found in governmental research and development laboratories, while others work in private research. They can be found teaching in colleges and universities as well as working in factories that make nuclear weapons and equipment. There are a number of sectors in which they can be employed and their career possibilities are endless.

In general, nuclear engineers research the processes, systems and instruments that are used to draw benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. They deal with the application of the fission and fusion of atomic nuclei, as well as of other sub-atomic physics, to research, develop, and design systems and components such as nuclear power plants, nuclear reactors, and nuclear weapons. They can also study the application of physics in other fields, such as medicine (the use of radiation in diagnosis and treatment), heat and thermodynamics transport, nuclear fuel, radioactive waste disposal, and nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear engineers have a good job outlook and the demand for their skills is expected to rise significantly in the next decade. Their skills will be sought in the power generation industry in particular, as the need to upgrade safety systems and maintain safety protocols at powerplants will likely only rise. Skills and qualifications

In order to become a nuclear engineer you need to at least have a bachelor's degree in science, physics, or engineering. Many jobs in the nuclear engineering field can require a master's degree and some may even require a doctoral degree. There are many necessary skills you will need in order to work in the nuclear engineering field, most importantly you need strong analytical and problem solving skills. As a nuclear engineer you will need to work well in a team environment and have a strong sense of responsibility.

Nuclear engineers must follow special procedures in order to keep the worksite and workers safe from radiation poisoning. They must be able to analyze and solve complex problems, so a knack for creativity and thinking outside the box is a definite advantage in the field. It is important that nuclear engineers study and keep up to date with the changes in their field to ensure their own safety and that of others.


As a nuclear engineer your day-to-day work can vary greatly depending on which field you decide to enter. If you are employed in the design aspect of nuclear engineering you can expect a 40 hour work week in a well lit office with occasional overtime to meet deadlines. Some will have a job that requires travelling quite often and will get to see other parts of the world. Other nuclear engineers will do most of their work in research facilities and laboratories, while those who work for companies in the power generation and supply industry will typically work in powerplants.