Average Salary: $67,000 to $118,000
Nuclear engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the application of the breakdown (fission) as well as the combination (fusion) of atomic nuclei or the application of other sub-atomic physics, based on the principles of nuclear physics. In the sub-field of nuclear fission, it particularly includes the interaction and maintenance of systems and components like nuclear reactors, nuclear power plants, or nuclear weapons. The field also includes the study of medical and other applications of (generally ionizing) radiation, nuclear safety, heat/thermodynamics transport, nuclear fuel or other related technology (e.g., radioactive waste disposal), and the problems of nuclear proliferation.
Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes, instruments, and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation. Many of these engineers find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials—for example, in equipment used in medical diagnosis and treatment.
Typically, they work in offices; however, their work setting varies with the industry in which they are employed. Most nuclear engineers work full time.