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Author Topic: Yet another Newbie thinking about getting back into Nuclear power  (Read 12124 times)

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gatordad699

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Greetings,

Male, Age 46, Retired Sub EMC, NPS Class 8406, SIU BS Degree.

I have been retired from the Navy and working at Caterpillar in East Peoria, IL for two years. The Exelon plant at Clinton, IL has offered to put me directly into a SRO class after working there for 6 months. I do not know anything about Civ Nuclear power and was wondering if I could ask a few questions. Sorry if they are answered in another post, I read posts for about two hours before asking these questions (trying to be good Nuc and research on my on).

1. Is Exelon/Clinton good company/plant to work for/at(did not see them mentioned in post about companies)?

2. Is 46 too old to be going into SRO class? Saw Broadzilla post were he said that SRO at 44 was no fun. I was ok student in Navy pipeline. Of course that was many, many years ago. I taught at both NFAS and NPTU, but am worried that I might not remember enough.

2a. Along those lines, I have not taken any test yet. Will I have to take any type of initial test to get in?

3. Read several posts on the timeline for SRO class. What I did not see was the hours you would be putting in during the class. 8, 9, 12 hour days? Do they have extra study if you need it?

3a. Is the class like NFAS/NPS with tons of theory? or is it more systems related?

4. Did not see anything talking about the hours for SRO once you are done with the class. I have read several articles about NRC not letting SROs work as many hours as in the past. What are the normal hours/workday like for an SRO?

5. Pay. They have not talked money with me yet. What is the pay like for SRO? Is there Bonus? Overtime? With my 2 weekend days of OT per month, I currently make about 85k/year. Would this be worth the move?

6. I am from the South. One of the reasons I chose Cat was the ability to transfer back down south in the future. Once you are a SRO is it possible/easy/hard to go work at another plant?

Thank you for any help.
Gatordad699 (Gators fan, first sub SSN699)

Offline UncaBuffalo

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d1. Is Exelon/Clinton good company/plant to work for/at(did not see them mentioned in post about companies)?

I liked Clinton 15 years ago under the previous owners, but...check out the 'Talk about: Clinton' forum...

http://www.nukeworker.com/forum/index.php/topic,950.0.html
The days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days. -Ray Wylie Hubbard

Fermi2

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Greetings,

Male, Age 46, Retired Sub EMC, NPS Class 8406, SIU BS Degree.

I have been retired from the Navy and working at Caterpillar in East Peoria, IL for two years. The Exelon plant at Clinton, IL has offered to put me directly into a SRO class after working there for 6 months. I do not know anything about Civ Nuclear power and was wondering if I could ask a few questions. Sorry if they are answered in another post, I read posts for about two hours before asking these questions (trying to be good Nuc and research on my on).

1. Is Exelon/Clinton good company/plant to work for/at(did not see them mentioned in post about companies)?

2. Is 46 too old to be going into SRO class? Saw Broadzilla post were he said that SRO at 44 was no fun. I was ok student in Navy pipeline. Of course that was many, many years ago. I taught at both NFAS and NPTU, but am worried that I might not remember enough.

2a. Along those lines, I have not taken any test yet. Will I have to take any type of initial test to get in?

3. Read several posts on the timeline for SRO class. What I did not see was the hours you would be putting in during the class. 8, 9, 12 hour days? Do they have extra study if you need it?

3a. Is the class like NFAS/NPS with tons of theory? or is it more systems related?

4. Did not see anything talking about the hours for SRO once you are done with the class. I have read several articles about NRC not letting SROs work as many hours as in the past. What are the normal hours/workday like for an SRO?

5. Pay. They have not talked money with me yet. What is the pay like for SRO? Is there Bonus? Overtime? With my 2 weekend days of OT per month, I currently make about 85k/year. Would this be worth the move?

6. I am from the South. One of the reasons I chose Cat was the ability to transfer back down south in the future. Once you are a SRO is it possible/easy/hard to go work at another plant?

Thank you for any help.
Gatordad699 (Gators fan, first sub SSN699)

Let's see if I can help.

1: Exellon has a good reputation HOWEVER they also expect you to sell your soul to them. They pay well but have serious repercussions for not following Exellon Standards.

2: Don't sweat not remember NPTU. You're going to a BWR so most of what you learned in Rookie League Ball does not apply. They teach the theory you need to know. I won't say 46 is too old but let me give some advice. License class is a LONG grueling Marathon with LOTS of peaks and Valleys. You will be treated at times like a child. It's been exhausting for me and I ALREADY knew how to get a License. I cannot imagine what it would be like starting fresh.

3: Depends on the schedule. At first my current class was on 5  8 hour days. Then 4 10 hour days Th-Sunday.  Now we're on 5  8s 3 to 11PM

3a: Not much theory after the first 8 weeks. Its VERY systems and integrated plant related. Later it's very Procedural related with failures thrown in during drills. You cannot just know the facts, you better understand how the system works when items are failed and how this fits into your Emergency Procedures. Also as an SRO you better know Admin procedures and the Law. You also have to know everyone elses procedures.

4: Online you'll work anywhere between 40 and 72 hours a week. During outages it'll be 72 Hours unless waived then who knows?

5: Most utilities do not pay SROs OT. I believe the average base rate is something like in the low to mid 80s. Many companies have Company Performance Bonuses. Also SROs get License Bonuses too, How it is paid depends on the Utility. My old company paid it 1/2 Semi Annually. TVA pays it as part of your pay check. I also get A shift differential bonus which is paid as part of my normal pay check. TVA pays bonuses for Refueling Outage Performance. The minimum I've ever made as an SRO is 105K and that was in 1997 when I first got my SRO License.

6: Licenses are not transferable and I'll speak realistically. By the time you get your License you'll be close to 48. You'll have no real experience yet and the License is really only worth something if you've used it. So lets say you do about 3 years as a Unit Supervisor which is what I'd look for if I was to hire you. Do you really want to change jobs at 51 years old?

By the way, if you want more info there are plenty of posts by myself, M1Ark and Roll Tide describing the training program and what's expected of you. Keep in mind the Operator in SRO is a misnomer because you'll never actually operate anything but you WILL be responsible for EVERYTHING that goes on in that plant.

Mike

Offline MLew44

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Ditto EVERYTHING Mike said; not much to add to that.... I will say, it will be a tough nut starting from scratch. You will naturally compare the program to your Navy experience as you go through it, but you'd be better off minimizing that the best you can. Money-wise it will eventually be worthwhile. Question is, will you make it through the program? I have seen a couple of retired enlisted guys NOT make it through -- maybe in part because they thought they had done it all, seen it all, and didn't have anything else to prove to themselves. You have to ask yourself, are you really ready for this challenge? When an outage extends for a week, will you be the one who won't be griping and complaining because you have to work the extra time for no extra pay? When you fail an exam, are you one to get mad and pity yourself or will you really toughen up and improve your performance? During stressful moments in the control room, you'll be the leader... Besides the grades, your composure & response to those moments will be scrutinized. Your age will be a factor; you'll have to constantly remind yourself to keep an optomistic attitude.

I am a couple of years younger than you. I'm an SRO & shift manager; have been at a commercial PWR for 11 years, former 10 year Navy enlisted. Getting an SRO license and then actually succeeding in the job is the toughest thing I have done in my career.

Sorry for the lecture; I'm betting you know this this stuff. What would I do in your shoes? I'd go for it! Good luck.

Offline M1Ark

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Everything Mike said.  Go for it.  It'll be the most rewarding thing you have ever done both financially and intellectually.

Offline hamsamich

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I know at Brunswick (97-00) they paid SROs OT, it was the job to have!  Once you became a CRS or STA, you were company cannon fodder.  Salem (00-02) SROs HATED IT because they were just used up.  The only problem with looking for a plant that pays SROs OT is if you find one and get a job and like it there, they could always make SROs salary out of the blue...

Another route to go is become a maint, I & C, HP, Chem Tech or QA guy.  these guys won't make as much as an Operator (SRO) but there is a reason why they pay those guys more, and one of the reasons is rotating shift work is not for everyone, including me.  You could go that route and possibly become a supervisor making 70-90k depending in one of those departments.  Alot of guys work a good amount of OT in one of those depts and make close to 100k.  Some guys work crazy amounts of OT and top the 100k mark.

Getting a lic. isn't for everyone, and I've heard quite a few people complain about getting pigeon holed with one, stuck in ops.  once you get a lic. you have it for better or for worse, USUALLY for the better.  However, the more mobile you are, the more you are in control of your own destiny.  there are plenty of good people stuck with a job they wouldn't stay with if it weren't for the fact that they don't want to move their family.  so if you want to settle down some where and STAY, if the company knows this, they may not let you go where you want to go.

i think getting a lic. is a great way to go if you know what you want, but it isn't for some and for sure not for me.  just an alternative view.

Fermi2

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hamsamich is correct. Before you go up for a license you want to make sure you

1: Want to be a licensed Operator

2: Realize that License can come with handcuffs especially in todays day and age where Licensed Operators and partticularly SROs are at a premium.

3: You know the training program is EXTREMELY wearing and at times exhausting. Your family has to work their schedule around you. You have to work with your family.

4: Post license you better be ready to take heat and justify everything you do, hopefully with a procedure.

5: Remember, you'll get second guessed by a LOT of people who have no clear idea what you or an Operator does, the best thing to do is accept their input realizing everyone wants to be the Star Quarterback but very few of us are willing to face the pass rush.

I never wanted to be anything but a SM so it worked out for me. On the other hand if I was told I had to be an NLO again I'd do that too.

Matt I'll answer your PM later. It was nice hearing from you I'll tell you about my first few days as an SM later bud and shoot ya some advice. Sorry you had such an interesting intro to the SM world!!

Mike

StuckRod

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Gatordad,

I think the senior posters in this thread covered your questions very well.  I just wanted to add another "be wary of Exelon" opinion.  Realize this is an opinion, and not bad blood, but they do tend to work you senseless.  Of course, generalities don't cover the exceptions to the rule!!!

License class is a lot of work.  The toughest part is learning the legal regulations that you will sign your life away on a day to day basis once completed.  The systems will be challenging but surprisingly will make logical sense.....unless you are talking ice condensers....then nobody understands they the ____ they exist.  ;)

Pay, pay, pay....it will come.  Matching your 85K should not be a problem except maybe during your training but I'm not up to speed on the "latest" (past 3 years) SRO salaries.  Nuclear pay has been going up in all industries it seems.

Offline tr

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Another way to look at it is that you are getting your foot into the door at a company with a lot of intersting, high paying jobs.  Once you are in, there is usually a process to try for other jobs within the site/Exelon (not sure as I don't work for Exelon).  Thus, if you get started, and figure out that Ops is not really where you want to be, there is a good chance you can move to another department.  As the others said, Ops can be rewarding, but there are a lot of aspects that some people do not like (shiftwork, unbelievable oversight and monday morning quarterbacking, enormous responsibility, etc.).

Offline Roll Tide

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Thus, if you get started, and figure out that Ops is not really where you want to be, there is a good chance you can move to another department. 

Let me give a disclaimer here: never get an active SRO license if you want to get off-shift. Anyone saying otherwise should be selling swamp land.
If there is an opportunity later on after plant staffing needs have been met...
The plants would love to have previous SROs in many other positions, but it will be after the on-shift needs are met.
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JustinHEMI05

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Just to tell you what Exelon is offering at another plant, recently they offered me (for instant SRO);

85K base
2/3 SRO license bonus in training (didn't ever find out how much this was but I got the impression is was paid every pay check)
Annual company bonus of at least 15% prorated for when I would have actually started
Shift differential when actually in shift
Moving allowance (about 10K)

So assuming they offer the same thing everywhere, which I don't know of course, you will be looking to start out slightly ahead of where you are with that 2/3 SRO license bonus and company bonus.

As far as getting the job. The interview process was 2 days long. The first day was when you actually talked with a board of people. They don't ask you "how do you split atoms" type of questions. They were asking "So tell me about a time you had to make a decision that went again what Management wanted and how did you handle it?" and "Tell me about a time you had to lead a group of peers through a problem and what was the outcome?" Before the actual interview, you take a 3 hour exam. It was REALLY easy but if you haven't looked at it in a long time, take a look at basic geometry, trig, algebra, things like simultaneous equations, radians, etc. While taking the exam you are going to think "what the hell does this have to do with anything" but its more of an aptitude test really and it is super basic. The second day sucked. You are put into a room with another group of people who are competing with you for the same or similar jobs. You are given 6 hours, a list of tasks and other needful information, and told to go and plan out a day of maintenance activities and evolutions. While you are doing this, you are being evaluated for your abilities to lead and interact with a team, and they will throw anomalies in on you. This is all conducted by an outside organization.

If they want to interview you, they will send you a packet that is THICK that you have to fill out. Its psych test etc. They include a practice test of the exam I spoke of. Also, be prepared to travel to the interview on your own dime up front. They will reimburse you though, and for me it was more than I spent.

Although the interview process itself sounds daunting, it really wasn't bad at all and with your experience, you should be fine. Also keep in mind this was my experience at a different plant in the Exelon fleet. I "assume" they operated the same all over, but they may not. Everything I told you could be complete bullshit for the plant you are interviewing for, but somehow I doubt it since I dealt with a corporate recruiter who had nothing to do with the plant.

I say go for it, and goodluck!

Justin

JustinHEMI05

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Oops, I just noticed how old this thread was so for all I know now I just wasted a lot of time telling you something you already knew. :) What is the status anyway?

Justin

 


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