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Nuclear Engineer

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Life As a Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear Engineer Definition Conduct research on nuclear engineering projects or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and use of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

Life As a Nuclear Engineer

  • Prepare environmental impact statements, reports, or presentations for regulatory or other agencies.
  • Conduct tests of nuclear fuel behavior and cycles or performance of nuclear machinery and equipment to optimize performance of existing plants.
  • Design or develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores, radiation shielding, or associated instrumentation or control mechanisms.
  • Direct environmental compliance activities associated with nuclear plant operations or maintenance.
  • Examine accidents to obtain data that can be used to design preventive measures.
  • Conduct environmental studies related to topics such as nuclear power generation, nuclear waste disposal, or nuclear weapon deployment.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Nuclear Engineer?

These are the skills Nuclear Engineers say are the most useful in their careers:

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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.

  • Radiological Defense Officer
  • Nuclear Fuels Research Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Resident Inspector
  • Nuclear Licensing Engineer

Job Demand for Nuclear Engineers

In the United States, there were 17,700 jobs for Nuclear Engineer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 700 new jobs for Nuclear Engineer by 2026. There will be an estimated 1,400 positions for Nuclear Engineer per year.


The states with the most job growth for Nuclear Engineer are Nevada, Florida, and Idaho. Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, Mississippi, or Minnesota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Nuclear Engineer

The average yearly salary of a Nuclear Engineer ranges between $68,560 and $162,360.


Nuclear Engineers who work in New Mexico, California, or New Hampshire, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Nuclear Engineers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $102,100
California $132,180
Connecticut $112,430
Florida $103,680
Idaho $128,270
Illinois $117,710
Kansas $113,690
Louisiana $98,900
Maryland $137,930
Michigan $100,890
Mississippi $99,900
Missouri $97,070
Nebraska $103,370
New Hampshire $125,330
New Mexico $136,310
New York $112,400
North Carolina $113,110
Pennsylvania $115,760
South Carolina $101,420
Tennessee $126,300
Texas $90,260
Virginia $87,340
Washington $100,260
Wisconsin $120,330

What Tools & Technology do Nuclear Engineers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Nuclear Engineers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • Linux
  • UNIX
  • Computer aided design CAD software
  • Salesforce software
  • Graphics software
  • SAP software
  • Presentation software
  • Formula translation/translator FORTRAN
  • Software development tools

Becoming a Nuclear Engineer

Are there Nuclear Engineers education requirements?


How Long Does it Take to Become a Nuclear Engineer?


Who Employs Nuclear Engineers?


The table below shows the approximate number of Nuclear Engineers employed by various industries.


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming a Nuclear Engineer might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Siemens Pressebild via CC BY-SA 3.0

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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