Clean up nuclear waste.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$41,000 – $94,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Decontaminators do?

Nuclear power plants create a lot of energy, but they also create a lot of waste. Equipment, clothing, tools, flooring, and dust can all be coated with tiny, sticky particles of nuclear waste, and it takes a special procedure—and a professional—to remove those particles or isolate items that simply can’t be cleaned. That person is the Decontaminator.

When you’re a Decontaminator, you wear protective equipment—including a suit, helmet, gloves, and goggles—while you’re at work. As a Decontaminator, you won’t be concerned with fixing your hair or dressing up before you head to the plant. You might be able to save a lot of money on grooming products.

When you’re given items to clean, you use specialized equipment to test the amount of nuclear waste on those items. Next, you separate them into piles, depending on how infected they are.

If the items have very little nuclear waste on them, you use water and chemicals to clean them. You also use a wire brush or buffer to smooth out rough edges that tend to hold onto nasty nuclear waste.

For items that have a moderate amount of waste, you mix up a chemical bath, and you dip those items in the bath. Some of the items may be quite big and heavy, so you may need to use a crane to move them around. You may also clean other items by blasting them with large amounts of sand.

Items that are highly contaminated require your complete attention. You box them up, following strict guidelines to make sure the contamination won’t spill out of the box. You then take these boxes to specific burial sites, where they’ll be stored until they cool down and can be safely handled.

Should I be a Decontaminator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • How to become a Decontaminator

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Decontaminator-related education!
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