Nuclear Reactor Operators and Technicians


Nuclear Reactor Operators and Technicians


Licensed nuclear reactor operators work in nuclear power plant control rooms, where they monitor instruments that record the performance of every pump, compressor, and other treatment system in the reactor unit. Nuclear power plants must have operators on duty at all times. In addition to monitoring the instruments in the control room, the nuclear reactor operator runs periodic tests on equipment at the station. Nuclear reactor operator technicians are in training to become operators; they study nuclear science theory and l...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



On-the-job training





Personality Traits



The beginning salary rate for nuclear reactor operator technicians depends on the technician's knowledge of nuclear science theory and work experience. Graduates of strong nuclear technology programs or former navy nuclear technicians usually earn more than people without this background or training. Salaries also vary among different electric power companies.

According to the U.S. Depar...

Work Environment

Nuclear reactor operator technicians spend their working hours in classrooms and laboratories, learning about every part of the power plant. Toward the end of their training, they work at a reactor control-room simulator or in the control room of an operational reactor unit under the direction of licensed operators.

Operators work in clean, well-lit, but windowless, control rooms. Becaus...


Questions regarding the safety of nuclear power, the environmental effects of nuclear plants, and the safe disposal of radioactive waste have been of public concern since the occurrence of major accidents at the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Daiichi plants. A 2019 Gallup poll reports that approximately 49 percent of Americans surveyed support the use of nuclear energy and 49 perce...