Nuclear Energy Jobs
What You Need to Know
Nuclear power has been a relatively common source of energy in the US for many years and continues to remain in common use.
How Does Nuclear Power Work?
Nuclear energy is works by harnessing the energy produced by the nuclear fission of atoms, in which atoms split apart to form even smaller atoms and release energy in the process. Energy can also be derived from the nuclear fusion of atoms, in which atoms are combined to create larger atoms, creating energy in the process. However modern nuclear energy makes uses solely nuclear fission because, at this point, our technology has not allowed us to safely harness nuclear fusion for energy-generating purposes.
The nuclear energy produced by atom fission can be utilized by nuclear power plants to produce electricity. The most common fuel source used by nuclear power plants is uranium, a common metal found in rocks.
Job Outlook in the Nuclear Energy Sector
According to the Energy Information Administration, the number of people employed by the US Uranium industry in 1993 numbered approximately 871, compared to 1,231 in 2007 and 1,563 in 2008. Although there have been some issues surrounding nuclear energy - specifically the storage and security of nuclear waste produced by nuclear power plants - the need to maintain current nuclear facilities in the country means that demand for employees in the nuclear energy sector should continue. Continued efforts to further develop nuclear technology and make it more secure will also promote employment in research positions.
Jobs in nuclear energy offer a great range of positions. You could work in construction, helping to build and repair nuclear reactors, or you could work in a development position as an environmental sustainability analyst, figuring out ways to best maintain nuclear plants with minimal environmental damage. An example of a job in the management area would be a power station operator, who would help in overseeing a nuclear power plant. A job in assessment and awareness could mean being a safety officer who ensures that the highly important safety protocol at power plants is being properly followed.