U.S. NRC Blog

Transparent, Participate, and Collaborate

@NRCgov_jobs Joins Twitter

Kimberly English
Recruitment Program Manager

There is a new way to hear about careers and career-related information at the NRC. Beginning today, you’ll be able to find out about the latest vacancy announcements and employment information by just following the new Twitter feed.

tweetgraphicThe tweets will go out the same time a vacancy announcement is open to the public or when we attend career fairs or just want to share information related to careers at the NRC. Follow NRC’s careers tweets at @NRCgov_jobs. The NRC’s jobs account will be listed and then simply click the “Follow” button underneath.

We also recently launched a careers page on LinkedIn where we share information on jobs and interesting factoids as well as information on why the NRC is a great place to work and seen as an employer of choice. Log into your LinkedIn account and in the search field type U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and join the more than 10,000 people following our careers page.

We don’t just hire engineers! Take a look and who knows…Your most rewarding career move could be to the NRC!

 

Throwback Thursday – The Nuclear Savannah

14698777183_cbe50c4bb1_nNS (Nuclear Ship) Savannah, the first commercial nuclear-powered cargo vessel, is seen here heading to the World’s Fair in Seattle. Built in the late 1950s at a cost of $47 million, including a $28 million nuclear reactor and fuel core, the Savannah was a demonstration project for the potential use of nuclear energy. She was launched in July 1959 and named for the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

NS Savannah was in service between 1962 and 1972 as one of only four nuclear-powered merchant ships ever built. Anyone know where she is moored today? Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration

Three Minutes with an NRC Health Physicist

Sophie Holiday
Health Physicist

By now most of you have heard of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or STEAM (which also includes the arts). These terms are shorthand for the school subjects that experts believe are essential to prepare students for today’s workforce. What may not be as familiar is the range of jobs available to students in STEM fields.

3minutesAt the NRC, we are always looking for students with good STEM backgrounds. But we don’t only hire nuclear engineers. In fact, there are many health physicists as part of our workforce. This important specialty is the subject of one of our latest YouTube videos.

Health physicists are trained in protecting people, members of the public and patients from the potential hazards of using radioactive materials. Radioactive materials can be used in diagnosing and treating illnesses, conducting research, producing electricity or any number of industrial processes. Besides physics, health physicists might study biology, health, engineering, technology or environmental science.

At the NRC, health physicists fill a variety of roles. They review applications for new reactors and amendments to existing reactors. They make sure our regulations will be met by facilities involved in processing uranium into nuclear fuel. They oversee the safety of medical, academic and industrial uses of radioisotopes. They perform inspections at the facilities we license. Health physicists are essential to fulfilling the NRC’s mission of protecting people and the environment.

Check out our video to learn more about the important role health physicists play in our society.

REFRESH — What is a Reactor Trip and How Does it Protect the Plant?

Samuel Miranda
Senior Reactor Systems Engineer

Note: Last week, the Prairie Island nuclear power plant “tripped.” So, it seemed like a good time to revisit a blog post we did two years ago on the subject.

refresh leafOn occasion, a nuclear power plant will “trip,” meaning something happened that caused the reactor to automatically shut down to ensure safety. In other words, a trip means a plant is doing what it’s supposed to do. Let’s look at the term a bit more closely.

Key operating parameters of a nuclear power plant, such as coolant temperature, reactor power level, and pressure are continuously monitored, to detect conditions that could lead to exceeding the plant’s known safe operating limits, and possibly, to damaging the reactor core and releasing radiation to the environment.

If any of these limits is exceeded, then the reactor is automatically shut down, in order to prevent core damage. In nuclear engineering terms, the automatic shutdown of a nuclear reactor is called a reactor trip or scram. A reactor trip causes all the control rods to insert into the reactor core, and shut down the plant in a very short time (about three seconds).

How do control rods do their job?

pwr[1]The control rods are composed of chemical elements that absorb neutrons created by the fission process inside the reactor. They are placed methodically throughout the nuclear reactor as a means of control. For example, as the control rods are moved into the reactor, neutrons are absorbed by the control rods and the reactor power is decreased. Inserting them all at the same time shuts down the reactor. Control rods can also be inserted manually, if necessary.

The plant operator then determines the reason for the trip, remedies it and, when it’s determined to be safe, restarts the reactor. So, while not common, a reactor trip is an important way to protect the components in a nuclear power plant from failing or becoming damaged.

REFRESH is an occasional series where we re-run previous blog posts. This post originally ran in December 2012.

 

 

NRC & Your Community – The Video

Ivonne Couret
Public Affairs Officer

Every work day, 3,000+ of your friends, neighbors, relatives and community members head to their jobs at the NRC. They’re headed to one of four regional offices, our large headquarters site, our teaching facility in Tennessee or are stationed at one of the nearly 100 nuclear power plants around the country. They’re managers, technical staff, nuclear experts, lawyers, librarians, inspectors, accountants and more.

NRC & your community logo_clrThis “people” perspective is often lost in larger conversations about rulemaking, concerns about radiation, and the risks and benefits of nuclear power. But the NRC is much more than a large regulatory body. It’s an organization made up of people who care – people just like you.

So a class of the next generation of NRC leaders – called the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program – decided to make a video focusing on the people behind the NRC seal, and how they help support society as a whole and the communities in which they – and you – live.

So, please take a few minutes to watch the video. We’ll also be presenting this at public meetings, making it available to schools and community groups, and augmenting it with other materials as part of a broader information campaign.

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