Duties and responsibilities
A nuclear equipment operator is responsible for operating the equipment used for the release, control, or utilization of nuclear energy. They may also assist scientists in laboratory or production activities.Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Directing, starting, stopping, adjusting, testing, and operating pumps, valves, switchgears, controls, and other components of systems
- Collecting, sorting, segregating and packing radiological waste
- Completing any required paperwork, reporting, and other documentation
- Performing any required maintenance and repair on the equipment
- Applying safety tags to equipment needing maintenance
- Following policies and procedures for radiation workers to ensure personnel safety
Performing routine testing on nuclear equipment to ensure they are operating safely and properly
Nuclear equipment operators will typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. It is advisable to get this at a vocational college, as they have specialist equipment to help aspiring equipment operators practice. Nuclear equipment operators can enrol into an apprenticeship program, where they will complete both technical instruction and on the job training.
Skills and relevant work experience
Nuclear equipment operators will learn their skills through technical training and on the job learning. They will also need skills such as:
- Hand-eye-foot coordination, because nuclear equipment operators will need to guide and control machines filled with nuclear material
- Attention to detail, as nuclear equipment operators are required to be careful and thorough when completing tasks
- Critical thinking, as nuclear equipment operators will have to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
- Mechanical skills, as nuclear equipment operators must perform maintenance on their equipment
- Communication skills, as nuclear equipment operators will have to communicate with other professionals, such as scientists
The majority of nuclear equipment operators will work full time. Nuclear equipment operators may have irregular schedules because their work may have to continue around the clock to keep operations running.
According to PayScale.com, the average annual salary of nuclear equipment operators is $71,399 per annum. The lowest 10% earned less than $41,000 and the highest 10% earned more than $113,000.
The employment of all equipment operators is t is expected to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029. This offers lots of exciting employment opportunities. Nuclear equipment operators can also progress to more advanced roles, such as supervisors.