Assist nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers, or other scientists in laboratory, power generation, or electricity production activities. May operate, maintain, or provide quality control for nuclear testing and research equipment. May monitor radiation.
Sample of reported job titles: Auxiliary Operator, Equipment Operator, Licensed Nuclear Operator, Non-Licensed Nuclear Equipment Operator (NLO), Non-Licensed Nuclear Plant Operator (NLO), Nuclear Auxiliary Operator, Nuclear Equipment Operator (NEO), Nuclear Plant Equipment Operator (NAPEO), Operations Technician, Systems Operator
Also see: Nuclear Monitoring Technicians
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Follow nuclear equipment operational policies and procedures that ensure environmental safety.
- Conduct surveillance testing to determine safety of nuclear equipment.
- Monitor nuclear reactor equipment performance to identify operational inefficiencies, hazards, or needs for maintenance or repair.
- Test plant equipment to ensure it is operating properly.
- Apply safety tags to equipment needing maintenance.
- Follow policies and procedures for radiation workers to ensure personnel safety.
- Modify, devise, or maintain nuclear equipment used in operations.
- Monitor instruments, gauges, or recording devices under direction of nuclear experimenters.
- Perform testing, maintenance, repair, or upgrading of accelerator systems.
- Adjust controls of equipment to control particle beam movement, pulse rates, energy or intensity, or radiation, according to specifications.
- Warn maintenance workers of radiation hazards and direct workers to vacate hazardous areas.
- Calculate equipment operating factors, such as radiation times, dosages, temperatures, gamma intensities, or pressures, using standard formulas and conversion tables.
- Measure the intensity and identify the types of radiation in work areas, equipment, or materials, using radiation detectors or other instruments.
- Communicate with accelerator maintenance personnel to ensure readiness of support systems, such as vacuum, water cooling, or radio frequency power sources.
- Set control panel switches to route electric power from sources and direct particle beams through injector units.
- Identify and implement appropriate decontamination procedures, based on equipment and the size, nature, and type of contamination.
- Decontaminate objects by cleaning them using soap or solvents or by abrading using brushes, buffing machines, or sandblasting machines.
- Prepare reports to communicate information such as contamination test results, decontamination results, or decontamination procedures.
- Collect air, water, gas or solid samples for testing to determine radioactivity levels or to ensure appropriate radioactive containment.
- Determine or recommend radioactive decontamination procedures, according to the size and nature of equipment and the degree of contamination.
- Set up equipment that automatically detects area radiation deviations and test detection equipment to ensure its accuracy.
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- Application server software — VMWare ESX Server
- Configuration management software — VMware
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software; Database software ; Microsoft Access ; Structured query language SQL (see all 5 examples)
- Industrial control software — Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Linux ; Microsoft operating system; Microsoft Windows
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
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- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
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- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- 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 that there is a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- 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.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- 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.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Monitor operations to ensure compliance with safety or security policies or regulations.
- Inspect work sites to identify potential environmental or safety hazards.
- Monitor operational procedures in technical environments to ensure conformance to standards.
- Maintain work equipment or machinery.
- Test mechanical systems to ensure proper functioning.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Communicate safety or hazard information to others.
- Measure radiation levels.
- Communicate with other workers to coordinate activities.
- Identify sustainable business practices.
- Clean objects.
- Prepare operational reports.
- Collect environmental data or samples.
- Advise others on management of emergencies or hazardous situations or materials.
- Set up laboratory or field equipment.
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- Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
- Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
- Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
- Exposed to Radiation — How often does this job require exposure to radiation?
- Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
- Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
- Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
- Consequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
- Coordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
- Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
- Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — How often does this job require working in cramped work spaces that requires getting into awkward positions?
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
- Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — How much does this job require wearing specialized protective or safety equipment such as breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suits, or radiation protection?
- Outdoors, Under Cover — How often does this job require working outdoors, under cover (e.g., structure with roof but no walls)?
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
- Exposed to High Places — How often does this job require exposure to high places?
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
- Spend Time Walking and Running — How much does this job require walking and running?
- Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
- Spend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related 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.|
|Job 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.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Interest code: RCI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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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.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$40.48 hourly, $84,190 annual|
|Employment (2020)||6,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||700|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Society for Nondestructive Testing
- Center for Energy Workforce Development
- Get Into Energy
- National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologists
- Nuclear Energy Institute
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Nuclear technicians
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