Articles, Blog

Nuclear Safety in the U.S. Navy

September 13, 2019


In the late forties the Navy Nuclear Propulsion program was pretty much started by one man. Hyman Rickover who, at the time, was a Captain. He had this great idea to put a nuclear reactor in a submarine. So that way it didn’t have to surface all the time, it didn’t have to come in and refuel all the time. Fast forward to over 50 years later and now we’ve been operating submarines and aircraft carriers safely with nuclear power, we’ve never had a reactor accident, we’ve got an outstanding safety record and the Navy Nuclear Fleet serves as a model to the civilian sector. Hi I’m Jesse Sloane, I am a Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in the United States Navy, and I’m a Naval Reactors Engineer. As a Naval Reactors Engineer our overall mission is to make sure that the nuclear reactors operating on submarines and aircraft carriers, maintain safe and reliable operation propulsion. We’ve been operating reactors for over 50 years now and the only way we’ve been able to do that is through the diligence of naval reactors to make sure that all of our designs are safe, and we can maintain the fleet. Good Naval Reactors Engineer, someone who has done really well in school, has a very good foundation of science and technology. The work we put out has to maintain a very high standard, we are the leaders of the nuclear power industry. In order to become a Naval Reactors Engineer, first you have to graduate from college with a bachelors degree in a science technology field. While your still in college usually within a year or two of graduating you go through an interview process you go to naval reactors headquarters and you interview with some of the engineers there. In the afternoon you meet with the 4 star Admiral who runs the naval nuclear program. Then you get a commission as a Navy Officer, go to officer training for 5 weeks and report to naval reactors headquarters for your first assignment. After about a year, which consists of working your daily job, doing some in the office training, you’re sent away to Bettis reactor engineering school for about 6 months. Followed by a month of touring our ship yards and research facilities. The Navy has a lot of great programs to help pay for college, one of them is the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program. The income you receive while in the NUPOC program while you are finishing school is great, it means, that you can spend your time focusing on your homework, focus on your studying, and focus on some kind of work out program. The Bettis Reactor Engineering School you spend about 23-24 weeks studying 11 different graduate level classes, everything from mathematics to nuclear physics, heat transfer systems, thermo-dynamics, structural mechanics, reactor theory, and all of it at once so, I think at one point I was taking 8 or 9 classes at the same time. So it’s challenging, there is a very, very large amount of information, it’s like drinking from a fire hose, the amount of information they throw at you. After you complete the training you’re stationed back at Naval Reactors Headquarters where you work in an office environment from about 8 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the afternoon schedule. Spend a lot of the day reading technical submittals, talking to our research laboratories, writing a lot of technical responses. I love most about my job-that I get to go home every night and see my family. The actual work environment it’s great, I work with some amazing people, and right now it seems like a dream job. There is a lot of new designs coming in for review and approval. Um-we get to get our hands dirty in a lot of hardcore engineering work. We interact a lot with the civilian sector. Constantly on the phone with them, visiting their sights, having them visit naval reactors headquarters. In addition there are a lot of civilians who work in Naval Reactors Headquarters, we’re a mix between military and civilians. There’s lots of career opportunities after your initial 5 year commitment as a Naval Reactors Engineer. You can stay in the Navy or you can convert to civilian and maybe stay on at Naval Reactors in a civilian position or leave the Naval Reactors community and work for a defense contractor, work for a nuclear power plant in the civilian sector, they’re really endless possibilities. Everything that we do at Naval Reactors really has to be the best product we put out and so I try and take that to heart and just be a better person overall and that includes pursuing graduate degrees the Navy is paying for me to get my masters degree in nuclear engineering. Thank you for watching the webcast, I hope you learned a lot about what a Naval Reactors Engineer does, and if you have anymore questions find us on Facebook or go to navy.com.

5 Comments

  • Reply Czubachowskii March 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    nope.

  • Reply Max W September 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    He has nice eyes

  • Reply Jays Words December 27, 2011 at 3:21 am

    @huskie767 who obviously have no fking clue what you're talking about nor have you ever served in our military, so i would sit back and stfu

  • Reply chris peters December 31, 2013 at 12:39 am

    nukes work crazy hours lol i can't wait to look like that

  • Reply D. Almighty June 17, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Nuclear safety?
    Do you know how many ERUL watches i stood while completley fucked up?
    Ive stood watches i have no memory of. I remember an ET in manuevering, who was tripping on acid while on watch in manuevering. I dont know how we made it…..but we did.

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