Retired or previously worked in nuclear power? It is a good time to come back!

I had a friend ask me a question yesterday about possibly coming back into the nuclear power and reviving his nuclear career. He has been out for 10 years and was in a depressed industry (real estate) and liked what he was hearing about the nuclear renaissance. He wanted to know what hurdles he would have to get back in the industry.

Sure, the industry has changed since he was last employed at a nuclear plant...and the change has been for the better! Capacities are way up, refueling outages are shorter, and less force outages show a very positive trend for the industry. So what are the hurdles for reentering this industry today?

The first hurdle is finding the right job for you. Look at your skill set and dig deep to find what really interests you in a new job. Do you want to get in on the ground floor of the new nuclear plant design/ construction? Well there are lots of choices in the new nuclear power plant field for designers, engineers, regulatory, and quality assurance personnel right now! Maybe you are a hands-on-person and have significant experience in mechanical or electrical maintenance? There are numerous openings at almost every plant for these people with this experience due to personnel retiring or from modernization projects that occurring or will be coming up in the near future. The point is people with experience can be very selective in their job selection than people with no experience or have general experience but not in nuclear.

Getting an access badge has not changed much except the background investigation process is way more in depth. You still need to be drug tested and be put into a random pool for testing if you are hired. You still have to take everybody’s favorite physiological test the MMPI. You will also be finger printed and have to pass the numerous employee training courses which seem to grow and grow in scope. So the hurdles are really the same as in the past, just a little more in depth. 

What do you have to lose when applying for your new nuclear job? I recommend talking to any of the recruiters or employers who post nuclear jobs on Nuclear Street about the opportunities they have to offer. They might be able to find a perfect fit for you or possibly make an offer you won’t be able to refuse. But know this; you can always say “No” to any job offer. What do you have to lose by contacting them? Boredom or that ho hum job you have now?

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    This is a question I have been pondering too. Got my Nuc. E. degree in late 1993 after having taken time off for a co-op internship (summer + 8 months ~ 1 year). I had a handful of interviews, but nothing came of them. I went the computer route, finally progressing thru senior network engineer, info security engineer, and info security architect. The only thing I've done nuclear - or for that matter in any true engineering discipline - in 15 years is the occasional advocacy if the subject came up.

    I'm sure the industry needs information system and security architects, but how does that get me back into the neutronics and core design work that I loved and excelled at as an intern? Are there training programs to step one back in, or would I need to consider an engineering masters of some kind to get back into the swing?

  • James, Have you recently applied for any nuclear engineering jobs? From reading your post, it looks like you did 15 years ago and but you have not recently.  You can see from our job board posting, nuclear engineers are in demand.  I would put together a nuclear engineering focused resume and try applying for some of the jobs posted. Choices are good…and it is great to have many! You can always say “no thanks” if the job offer is not really what you want.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    After 15 years, and a total of a degree plus *almost* one year of industry experience, that'll definitely make for a easy one-page resume. :-)

    Thanks!

  • Hi Cam,

    I'm an ex nuclear worker who has been out of the industry for about 12 years.  Prior to being a supervisor and project manager I was a level II elec & mech certified QC inspector.  I thought that it would be easiest getting back in the industry by getting an outage inspector job but after being contacted by a recruiter I have a problem.  They require copies of past certifications which I no longer have.  I've tried to make contact with the companies I worked for but all of them are either out of business or have been bought and sold a few times.  Getting copies of cert records from the 80's & 90's is proving to be a major roadblock for me.  I have also been told that companies don't keep personnel cert records that long.  Does anyone have any advice for me?  I'm even willing to get retrained and certified but don't know where to go.  It's very frustrating to me that a couple of sheets of paper is stopping me from reentering the nuke field.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I qualified in the US Navy about 25 years ago as an NMO.  I have worked in regular government/service after my initial enlistment.  The non-liscened operator job sounds about right for me, but I don't know if my 'rust' would totally obviate me from consideration.  Advice?

  • Anonymous, the first thing I would do is Join Nuclear Street. Recruiters and employers have no way of knowing who you are or how to contact you. Second, it sounds like you have great experience. I would definitely say there are job opportunities back in nuclear for you. Have you tried contacting any of the many recruiters and employers we have on the jobs board? Many have listed their emails and contact numbers. Another way is to simply search for “recruiter” on Nuclear Street and filter your results (left sidebar) by people. Ask them and they may also be able to place you. I hope this helps! God luck!

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I was a machinist for a number of years and did alot of outages where can I find a listing of companies that use old machinist?                                                                                                  thanks  TOM C.