Nuclear Reactor Operators and Technicians

Nuclear Power Plant Control Room

Licensed nuclear reactor operators work in nuclear power plant control rooms, where they monitor instruments that record the performance of every pump, compressor, and other treatment system in the reactor unit. Nuclear power plants must have operators on duty at all times. In addition to monitoring the instruments in the control room, the nuclear reactor operator runs periodic tests on equipment at the station. Nuclear reactor operator technicians are in training to become operators; they study nuclear science theory and learn to perform reactor operation and control activities. They work under the supervision of licensed nuclear reactor operators, and later they work as beginning operators. Senior operators, or senior reactor operators, have further training and experience and oversee the activities of nuclear reactor operators and technicians.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Radiation Monitors
Duties Monitor instruments at nuclear power plants; runs performance tests on nuclear power plant equipment
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience On-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Hands On
  • Technical
  • Interpersonal
  • Math
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements Must pass special clearance tests, including FBI, drug and alcohol, and credit screenings
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Senior Reactor Operator
  • Nuclear Reactor Operator
  • Nuclear Reactor Technician
  • Technician
  • Trainee

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