Nuclear Power Engineer

Nuclear power engineers study the energy released when the atomic core is split. Some high technology weapons and medical breakthroughs exist as a result of nuclear energy.

They are responsible for the use and control of the energy and the accompanying radiation that result from a nuclear reaction. They also generate, use and maintain nuclear energy.

Nuclear engineering includes research, design, safety, analyses, testing, education and fuel management. The power industry dominates nuclear engineering. Nuclear engineers working at power plants are also involved in the quality of water and food.

Nuclear energy is used for sterilization, pest control and the production of fertilizers. Nuclear power engineers also do genetic research to improve food strains and their resistance to harmful elements.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BSc degree majoring in Physics and Chemistry or Physics and Mathematics.

Post-graduate study: BSc Honours degree specialising in Physics, Chemistry or other relevant fields. An MSc or PhD is recommended, especially for a career in research - e.g. NWU, UNISA, UJ, NMMU, UZ.


  • universities
  • large hospitals
  • Directorate for Radiation Safety, Department of Health
  • such organisations as: SABS, Eskom
  • The National Accelerator Centre
  • nuclear safety companies
Positions in this field are not plentiful and competition is fierce. Those that are better qualified stand a better chance.

Further Information

Any of the above mentioned potential employers

Getting Started

  • develop your interest in science and read up on new discoveries and the latest technology associated with nuclear power
  • arrange to speak to a nuclear engineer about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

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