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Radiation Protection Engineer

Protect the world by ensuring safe operations at nuclear power plants.

What does a Radiation Protection Engineer do?

Radiation Protection Engineers ensure safe and secure operations at nuclear power plants, as well as other places — hospitals, for instance, hazardous waste removal companies and research facilities — where radiation poses risks to people, animals, or the environment.

In March 2011, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan, which subsequently suffered a major nuclear crisis when three of its nuclear reactors were damaged, releasing radioactive gas into the country’s air and water supplies. For a nation that was the target of an atomic bomb during World War II, it was devastating. For the rest of the world, it was a powerful illustration of the need for nuclear fail-safes — and for skilled Radiation Protection Engineers who can create and execute them.

As a Radiation Protection Engineer, you lead and supervise a staff of Radiation Protection Technicians. You accomplish your work with a combination of prevention, monitoring, and repair. Together, for instance, you and your team regularly test samples of water and air to determine radiation levels, and monitor nuclear equipment for signs of corrosion. You may also design and implement safety systems, including physical designs such as barrier walls and protective gear, and procedural designs such as safety processes and protocols.

Because you’re an Engineer, however, your primary responsibility is problem solving: In the event of radiation leaks or contaminations, you’re the go-to person who works to develop solutions in the form of cleanup and containment.

Whether it’s building a safe facility or training safe workers, you’re the “brain” of the nuclear power industry, counted on to understand, mitigate, and respond to radiation risks — preventing another Chernobyl or Japan.