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Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

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All About Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Position Description Operate or control nuclear reactors. Move control rods, start and stop equipment, monitor and adjust controls, and record data in logs. Implement emergency procedures when needed. May respond to abnormalities, determine cause, and recommend corrective action.

What Do Nuclear Power Reactor Operators Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Note malfunctions of equipment, instruments, or controls and report these conditions to supervisors.
  • Conduct inspections or operations outside of control rooms as necessary.
  • Monitor or operate boilers, turbines, wells, or auxiliary power plant equipment.
  • Develop or implement actions such as lockouts, tagouts, or clearances to allow equipment to be safely repaired.
  • Dispatch orders or instructions to personnel through radiotelephone or intercommunication systems to coordinate auxiliary equipment operation.
  • Identify or direct implementation of appropriate decontamination procedures, based on equipment and the size, nature, and type of contamination.

What a Nuclear Power Reactor Operator Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Nuclear Power Reactor Operators say are important on the job.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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.

  • Nuclear Operator
  • Nuclear Control Room Non-Licensed Operator
  • Nuclear Control Room Operator
  • Nuclear Reactor Operator
  • Senior Reactor Operator

Nuclear Power Reactor Operator Employment Estimates

There were about 7,000 jobs for Nuclear Power Reactor Operator in 2016 (in the United States). There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Nuclear Power Reactor Operator. The BLS estimates 500 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Nuclear Power Reactor Operator are Washington, Idaho, and Nebraska. Watch out if you plan on working in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, or Illinois. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators make between $68,200 and $127,370 a year.


Nuclear Power Reactor Operators who work in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, or Mississippi, make the highest salaries.

How much do Nuclear Power Reactor Operators make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Illinois $87,340
Mississippi $97,040
North Carolina $101,520
Pennsylvania $106,870
South Carolina $80,490
Tennessee $90,190

What Tools & Technology do Nuclear Power Reactor Operators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Nuclear Power Reactor Operators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data logging software

How to Become a Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

What education or degrees do I need to become a Nuclear Power Reactor Operator?


How Long Does it Take to Become a Nuclear Power Reactor Operator?


Where Nuclear Power Reactor Operators Are Employed


Nuclear Power Reactor Operators work in the following industries:



Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Siuta B. Ika via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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