By: Kaustov Kashyap
Nuclear engineering is a branch that involves designing, constructing and operating nuclear reactors besides breaking down of atomic nuclei and other sub-atomic physics. It is the perfect playing ground for those with a futuristic vision. Nuclear engineers are mostly absorbed in research and development organizations, nuclear reactors and power plants which make weapons and war equipment. Nuclear engineers have an important role in the field of medicine as they also develop advanced nuclear imaging technology which is useful for diagnosing and treating various rare diseases. Nuclear engineers typically do the following:
· Design or develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores, radiation shielding, and associated instrumentation
· Direct operating or maintenance activities of operational nuclear power plants to ensure that they meet safety standards
· Write operational instructions to be used in nuclear plant operation or in handling and disposing of nuclear waste
· Monitor nuclear facility operations to identify any design, construction, or operation practices that violate safety regulations and laws
· Perform experiments to test whether methods of using nuclear material, reclaiming nuclear fuel, or disposing of nuclear waste are acceptable
· Take corrective actions or order plant shutdowns in emergencies
· Examine nuclear accidents and gather data that can be used to design preventive measures
In addition, nuclear engineers are at the forefront of developing uses of nuclear material for medical imaging devices, such as positron emission tomography (PET) scanners. They also may develop or design cyclotrons, which produce a high-energy beam that the healthcare industry uses to treat cancerous tumors.
To make a flourishing career in this field of engineering, almost all entry level jobs require a Bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering. Any 10+2 pass students, with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and English as compulsory subjects, can eligible to pursue this 4-year undergraduate degree program. Candidates need to qualify an entrance examination to find a place for admission in most of the institutions offering courses in nuclear engineering. They can also choose to take up diploma programs that specialize in nuclear engineering. Eligible engineering graduates or those with a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Physics have to qualify Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) to seek admission in the 2-year M.Tech program in nuclear engineering. Several doctoral (PhD) and postdoctoral research programs are also conducted by different research institutions.
Aspirants with an undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering can find diverse career options in several government agencies at all levels, in national laboratories, in companies that design and sell medical equipment and nuclear steam supply systems, in engineering and construction firms, in consulting service companies, and in the electric utility industry and its associated organizations. They can also search for employment opportunities in health and medical research, transportation, and food and water safety sectors. Adequate experience and advanced study provides better job offers in the field of teaching and research at numerous institutions and laboratories, in India and abroad. Besides, nuclear engineers can also pick up management or administration as a career option.
Different levels of courses in nuclear engineering & technology are offered by a number of institutes and universities in India. These are: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur and Madras; Delhi University, New Delhi; Sastra University, Thanjavur; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal; PanditDeendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar; Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore; College of Science & Technology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam; Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata; and SRM University, Chennai.
Nuclear engineering is considered as one of the highly paid jobs, even though they are always at a risk of exposure to unwanted nuclear hazards. In the beginning, nuclear engineers can receive excellent monthly salary packages of Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000, depending upon their skills, education, and type of organization they are hired by. Besides a handsome pay package, these professionals earn other benefits in terms of TA, DA, resident allowances, etc. The earnings of nuclear engineers gradually increase with higher qualification, experience, and promotion, reaching up to lakhs of rupees per month.
The writer is Founder & Director, Pragatee HR & Career Consultant, Jorhat, Assam.
Boost your career in Nuclear Engineering
By: Kaustov Kashyap