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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.   (O'Net 51-8011.00)

 
Reported job titles:   Control Room Operator, Control Room Supervisor, Equipment Operator, Licensed Nuclear Control Room Operator, Licensed Reactor Operator, Nuclear Control Operator   (view all job titles)
 
  • Career Video
  • Wages
  • Employment Trends
  • Industries of Employment
  • Tasks
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities
  • Work Activities
  • Interests
  • Work Styles
  • License Information
  • Education & Training Requirements
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    Wages
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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    No wage data for this occupation.
     


    Employment Trends
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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    No trend data for this occupation.
     


    Industries of Employment
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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    Industry Percent of Total
    2014
    Utilities 80.0%
    Scientific research and development services 7.6%
    Federal government, all industries 6.2%
    Local government, excluding education and hospitals 1.6%
    Educational services; state, local, and private 0.8%
    source: Employment Projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment Matrix, released July 2016.
     


    Tasks
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Adjust controls to position rod and to regulate flux level, reactor period, coolant temperature, or rate of power flow, following standard procedures.
     
  • Implement operational procedures, such as those controlling start-up or shut-down activities.
     
  • Respond to system or unit abnormalities, diagnosing the cause, and recommending or taking corrective action.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Note malfunctions of equipment, instruments, or controls and report these conditions to supervisors.
     
  • Record operating data, such as the results of surveillance tests.
     
  • Dispatch orders or instructions to personnel through radiotelephone or intercommunication systems to coordinate auxiliary equipment operation.
     
  • Monitor or operate boilers, turbines, wells, or auxiliary power plant equipment.
     
  • Participate in nuclear fuel element handling activities, such as preparation, transfer, loading, or unloading.
     
  • Conduct inspections or operations outside of control rooms as necessary.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2010
     


    Knowledge
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
     
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
     
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
     
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
     
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
     
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
     
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
     
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
     
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
     
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2010
     


    Skills
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
     
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
     
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
     
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
     
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
     
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
     
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
     
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
     
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
     
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2010
     


    Abilities
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
     
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
     
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
     
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
     
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
     
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
     
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
     
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
     
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
     
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2010
     


    Work Activities
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
     
  • Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
     
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
     
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
     
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
     
  • Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
     
  • Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
     
  • Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
     
  • Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
     
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2010
     


    Interests
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
     
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2008
     


    Work Styles
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
     
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
     
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
     
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
     
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
     
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
     
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
     
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
     
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
     
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
     
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2010
     


    State of Vermont License Information
    that may be required for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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    No state licenses listed for this occupation.
     


    Education and Training Requirements
    for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
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  • Education: Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  •  
  • Training: Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
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  • Experience: Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
  •  
    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators  updated June 2010
     


    Schools
    offering instructional programs related to Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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      Related Instructional Programs
     
    • Nuclear/Nuclear Power Technology/Technician.
     
     Search for schools offering these programs at
     
     
     
    source: National Center for Education Statistics 2000 Classification of Instructional Programs .
     


    Other Resources
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  • Labor Exchange Information
  • A source for occupational characteristics, such as age, gender, race, and years of education and an alternative source for occupational wage rates. Limited to people looking for jobs and the jobs advertised through VDOL Vermont Job Link.
  • Look for statewide information over the latest 12 months for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators.
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  • Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. Revised every two years, the Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
    Go to Occupational Outlook Handbook
    Handbook occupations related to Nuclear Power Reactor Operators :
  • Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers
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    Related Occupations
    Occupations with skill requirements similar to Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
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  • Avionics Technicians
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  • Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
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  • Surveying Technicians
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators 
     

     
     
     
    Vermont.gov State of Vermont Department of Labor