Test-and-Research Reactor Operator

Control operation of nuclear reactors to create fissionable materials.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$41,000 – $94,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Test-and-Research Reactor Operators do?

Controls operation of nuclear reactor to create fissionable materials used for research purposes, study structure of atoms, and determine properties of materials: Positions fuel elements and object to be irradiated in position in reactor core, using slave manipulators. Installs instrumentation leads in core to measure operating temperature and pressure in reactor working from mockups, blueprints, and wiring and instrumentation diagrams. Activates reactor and inserts object to be irradiated into rabbit tube, beam hole, or irradiation tunnel according to size of object and nature of experiment. Monitors instruments at console and reactor panels to control chain reaction, following directions of nuclear experimenters. Calculates applicable limits of operating factors, such as temperature and pressure, using standard formulas, and adjusts controls to maintain operating conditions, such as power level, airflow and waterflow, temperature, and radiation and neutron levels in reactor within operating limits. Records data, such as type of material irradiated, exposure time, pile atmospheric conditions, and position of control rods in core. Disassembles reactor parts, such as core plug and control rods, using crane and handtools. Lifts spent fuel elements and irradiated objects from core, using extension tool, and drops them through chute into canal for recovery of fissionable material. May work as member of team and alternate between operating reactor controls and monitoring instruments, gauges, and other recording devices in control room.


Should I be a Test-and-Research Reactor Operator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Reactor Operator, Reactor Operator, Test-and-Research, Reactor-Service Operator, Test and Research Reactor Operator

    How to Become a
    Test-and-Research Reactor Operator

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Test-and-Research Reactor Operator-related education!
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