What is nuclear engineering, what is the future of its graduates, and what are their salaries and fields of work?

Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the application of breaking down atomic nuclei, combining atomic nuclei, or applying other nuclear processes based on the principles of nuclear physics ...

In our article, we will deal with the history of nuclear engineering, her fields of work and the salary of our friend, the nuclear engineer.

Nuclear planet

What is the history of nuclear engineering?

The nuclear age began in 1939, when two German physicists, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, split a uranium atom.

Their research followed the physicist "Lise Meitner" who realized that the splitting of an atom releases energy in a process known as "fission".

Then came the warnings to the United States of America (in a letter signed by many scientists, including Albert Einstein) that Germany could develop a powerful weapon.

The United States launched the “Manhattan Project,” a top-secret attempt to create an atomic bomb, after which two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945, thus ending the Second World War.

During and after the war ..

Many physicists made contributions to the development of the atomic theory, while others put these theories into practice.

These physicists may not have called themselves engineers, but they were the first to practice nuclear engineering.

Among the most prominent figures at the beginning of the nuclear era:

Leo Szilard (Manhattan Project researcher who helped build the first nuclear reactor)

Enrico Fermi (achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction)

Ernst Lawrence (invented the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator)

Robert Oppenheimer (led the team that built the first atomic bomb)

Walter Zane (oversaw construction of the first experimental nuclear reactor)

Edward Teller (helped develop the American hydrogen bomb)

Andrei Sakharov (developed the hydrogen bomb for the Soviet Union)

After the war ..

Physicists have discovered the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as the United States has established many national laboratories.

Including Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore and Argonne National Laboratories.

The army, and especially the US Navy, had a major influence on the advances in nuclear engineering.

Where Admiral Hyman J. Ricover (nicknamed the father of the nuclear navy) called for the production of the first nuclear submarine USS Nautilus, which was ordered in 1951, and it was launched in 1954.

It is worth mentioning:

Nuclear engineering has suffered many catastrophic failures, the most famous of which is the "Three Mile Island" nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan ...

What are the fields of work of a nuclear engineer?

About a third of nuclear engineers in the United States work in electric power generation, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Other nuclear engineers are building contractors, equipment manufacturers, hospitals and clinics, and defense contractors.

Nuclear engineers also work in many governmental institutions, such as health care facilities, regulatory agencies, national laboratories, and the military.

A nuclear engineer’s fields of work include:

Development of nuclear equipment, such as the core of reactors and radiation protection.

Monitor the design, construction and operation of the nuclear station to ensure that the stations meet safety standards.

Written instructions for dealing with and disposing of nuclear waste.

To test whether the methods of using nuclear materials, nuclear fuel reclamation, or nuclear waste disposal are acceptable.

Taking corrective measures or issuing orders to close the factory in emergency situations.

Screening for nuclear accidents and collecting data that can be used to prevent future accidents.

According to the MIT decision on safety of nuclear reactors ...

Nuclear engineers are responsible for preventing accidents through proper design and training

Protection also through monitoring and control systems, active shutdown and cooling and modulation systems to reduce consequences through engineering safety systems.

Nuclear engineers are also responsible for ensuring the safe handling of radioactive materials in accordance with numerous federal regulations.

This responsibility includes monitoring the exposure of workers to radioactive materials in nuclear facilities, and patients and staff in health care facilities.

What does nuclear engineering require?

Most nuclear engineering jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in engineering

Some employers may require professional engineer certification and certification from the Professional Engineering Examination Committee (PEEC) of the American Nuclear Association (ANS).

Promotion to management often requires a master's degree, and engineers need constant education and training to keep pace with advances in technology.

Nuclear engineering requires many basic skills, including:

In-depth understanding of nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, mathematics and materials science.

Knowledge of computerized control equipment for reactors and accelerators, as well as computer simulations to model a variety of systems and equipment.

(A comprehensive list of the skills and abilities needed for nuclear engineers can be found at MyMajors.com.)

What is the salary of a nuclear engineer?

According to Salary.com, and as of July 2014.

The salary of a newly graduated nuclear engineer with a bachelor's degree ranges from $ 58,138 to $ 80,612.

The salary of a mid-level engineer with a master's degree and 5 to 10 years of experience ranges from $ 75,157 to $ 117,138.

However, the salary for an engineer with a master's or doctorate and more than 15 years of experience ranges from $ 97,012 to $ 145,880.

Many experienced engineers with advanced degrees are promoted to management positions where they can earn more.

What is the future of nuclear engineering?

BLS projects that the employment of nuclear engineers will grow 9% between 2012 and 2022, near the average for all occupations.

Employment trends in power generation may be commensurate with the potential need to upgrade safety systems at power plants

There should be many opportunities for highly qualified applicants, especially those who are always up to date with the latest technological developments.

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