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zeusnuce

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nrc vs. power industry
« on: Jul 21, 2006, 12:41 »
Hi,

NRC is hiring big time and the pay is good. They estimate that after 4 years in NRC, you can make around 100k . Combine this with a 40-hour work week and other government benefits, everything looks very sweet.

Now, I am very close to graduating and I have no power plant experience like you guys. I want to see why would working in a nuclear power plant be better than at NRC looking at it from several perspectives. Any input you guys have would greatly be appreciated. I think I want to work in a power plant, and I just want to gain some confidence :)

Some relevant questions to consider include:

1. How long  do you estimate to have to work in a power plant to reach 100k, and how far can you go in salary assuming you will only go as high as an SRO?

2. How many hours do SROs usually put in during a week and is the work high-pressure or just enough to be challenging?

3. If you have both NRC and power plant experience, please explain which workplace is better in your opinion.

Any other reasons why work in a power plant would be better is also welcomed. Also, I am located in Region III, Midwest, in case that information becomes relevant.

Thanks a lot
« Last Edit: Jul 21, 2006, 12:44 by zeusnuce »

Offline Broadzilla

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #1 on: Jul 21, 2006, 07:28 »
First,

Do you HONESTLY believe the NRC works a 40 hour work week?

I have an excellent bridge located in or near NYC I'd be interested in selling you.

Mike

Offline Roll Tide

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #2 on: Jul 21, 2006, 07:39 »
One of the advantages of working for the NRC is that there is a variety of jobs. You can transfer from "Resident" at a commercial plant to "Examiner" giving license exams.

Service with the NRC would also make you very marketable to later commercial power (utility or contractor) employment.

There are limits on where you can work as a Resident if you have previously been commercial for a few years (and probably the other way as well).

The NRC is paying near 100K after about 4 years because they need to be competitive with the industry. If you never go above SRO, you can still make $100K+. If you work a site that pays for work over 40 hours as an SRO, you can make much more.

Nuclear is a demanding field, and there aren't that many 40 hour week jobs in the field.
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zeusnuce

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #3 on: Jul 21, 2006, 05:24 »
First,

Do you HONESTLY believe the NRC works a 40 hour work week?

I have an excellent bridge located in or near NYC I'd be interested in selling you.

Mike

An NRC representative came to my school to talk to students. There he said the work day is usually 8 hours and is flexible. I believed him cause I have no other information on this. Have you heard differently?....I guess all this may depend on where and what you do...

Offline Broadzilla

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #4 on: Jul 21, 2006, 07:12 »
Virtually everyone in this industry has had contact with the NRC. It's sort of something that happens when you're a regulatee and they're a regulator.

As a Shift Manager I have probably more day to day contact with the NRC than any person on site. Trust me, NO ONE in that organization is working 40 hour weeks. It's a NOMINAL 8 hour day. NOMINAL means 8 is most likely the minimum.

Put it this way, in the last 16 years I'd estimate I've met 150 NERCs, maybe more and none of them were working 40 hour weeks. Hardly anyone in this industry does.

Mike

StuckRod

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2007, 04:37 »
Hi,

NRC is hiring big time and the pay is good. They estimate that after 4 years in NRC, you can make around 100k . Combine this with a 40-hour work week and other government benefits, everything looks very sweet.

Not when that 100k is for the Washington DC area.  It's not the same as 100K say.....at Watts Bar in Tennessee.  DC is VERY expensive and tough to commute.  40 hours is all you need to do, yes true.  Good luck getting that promotion with that haha.  As someone who has worked for utilities, INPO, and NRC I can assure that work ethic counts everywhere.  NRC wasn't ranked #1 federal agency to work for because the people there are lazy slobs (some are LOL, just like anywhere I guess!).  If you are talking about the NRC's 4-year safety professional program, you will make those 4 "auto" career jumps and sit forever if your work ethic is junk.  Trust me on that.  And if you want to move up in the agency at all, you better become a resident inspector at one of the sites for at least a few years.  Better if you can make senior resident.  Those jobs are tough to get because they are the best and toughest in the agency.  And those who excel in those jobs are doing a little more than 40 hours if they are doing it right.
   
Now, I am very close to graduating and I have no power plant experience like you guys. I want to see why would working in a nuclear power plant be better than at NRC looking at it from several perspectives. Any input you guys have would greatly be appreciated. I think I want to work in a power plant, and I just want to gain some confidence :)

Some relevant questions to consider include:

1. How long  do you estimate to have to work in a power plant to reach 100k, and how far can you go in salary assuming you will only go as high as an SRO?

Only go as high as SRO?  What?  Umm, hmmm.  SRO is pretty high.  I assume you mean SRO-unit supervisor?  Not OSM or management positions (which now typically demand someone be a former SRO to be competitive)?  SROs will make 6 figures but I doubt your 4 year timeline will work with that considering you have no plant experience.  You have a lot to learn and 4 years (in my mind) isn't going to cut it to make SRO.

2. How many hours do SROs usually put in during a week and is the work high-pressure or just enough to be challenging?

The shift schedules are usually a revolving 5 week plan that comes out to about ~40 hours per workweek when factoring your days off over that 5 week span.  Of course, one week is almost completely off and other weeks during that 5 week period are just a "tad" more than 40 hours LOL.  And during an outage, throw those work hours out the window and buy an air mattress for your car in the parking lot.  Don't forget you lose some "off" hours trying to adjust from days to nights during that 5 week period.  One of those weeks is training week (non-shift held during the day)

3. If you have both NRC and power plant experience, please explain which workplace is better in your opinion.

Depends what you want.  Cost of living is better on the utility side for the most part with the exception of Pilgrim, Indian Point, Turkey Point, San Onofre, Diablo Canyon etc.  NRC has DC (ugh), Philadelphia, Chicago, Arlington, and Atlanta.  Not exactly fun family living, nor cheap.  Utility life has much better comraderie and you don't have to move as much, if at all...unless you really want to make big money and keep getting promotions just like any industry.  Travel at NRC is frequent.  Enjoy airports?  Good.  Job security and quality of life is probably better at NRC because your hours are "normal."  Again, if you go NRC, you need to try your hardest to get a resident inspector job.  They usually want someone with plant experience for those jobs but you never know.  I seriously don't know the appeal of working in DC.  COST OF LIVING MUST BE FACTORED INTO ANY SALARY OFFER.  I got a friend living in Mahattan, making 6 figures, and sleeping on hardwood with the same square footage as the breakdancing mat used in "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo"....all for 7000/mo rent!

Any other reasons why work in a power plant would be better is also welcomed. Also, I am located in Region III, Midwest, in case that information becomes relevant.

Region III?  Chicago?  Or excuse me, Naperville?  I'd work for Exelon before I'd work NRC....unless you have a sweeter deal on the table from NRC than you do from a plant.

Thanks a lot

ramdog_1

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2007, 12:21 »
Go ahead and work for the NRC  what the heck just cause you never worked in this field do's not mean a thing your no different than an F.O.B or any one else who is starting out ! do your best and good things well come.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2007, 03:02 by ramdog_1 »

Offline rlbinc

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2007, 07:47 »
You know they're a big, cuddly, family type organization.
Makes me homesick for Exelon.
 ;D

Offline tr

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2007, 05:03 »
If you are just getting out of school, I'd suggest going where you can get the most experience/training in the shortest period of time.  If the NRC was recruiting you at school, I'm guessing you are an engineer.  Most utilities have a ~1 year training programs for new engineers that will give you an overview of the plant and how it works.  I'm not sure what training the NRC gives their new hires, but I know they have a big training facility with several simulators in Chattanooga.  The broader you knowledge, the more opportunities you will have (this is why you see getting an SRO as such a recommended option).  Recognize that at many plants, operators make up a relatively small portion of the actual site poplulation (at my site, the largest group is maintenance, then security, then engineering, then operations).

Also take a look at the jobs listed on the NRC website to get a general feel for how much travel is involved.  Typically, the more senior you get, the more travel is involved.

Also recognize that NRC staffer's typically have to distance themselves from licensee's (so if you end up doing an inspection at a place where an old college bud works you may not be able to go out for a beer with that person).


Offline caerbannog

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #9 on: Sep 18, 2007, 11:30 »
Hi,

NRC is hiring big time and the pay is good. They estimate that after 4 years in NRC, you can make around 100k . Combine this with a 40-hour work week and other government benefits, everything looks very sweet.
I don't see how the NRC can compete with the utilities when it comes to cost of living.

Quote from: zeusnuce
1. How long  do you estimate to have to work in a power plant to reach 100k, and how far can you go in salary assuming you will only go as high as an SRO?

Best case scenario?  One year as a plant engineer, one year pre-license school, 18 to 24 months license school.  And that will be very demanding on you.

Quote from: zeusnuce
2. How many hours do SROs usually put in during a week and is the work high-pressure or just enough to be challenging?

Here's an example of a 5 week rotation:

3 Days (12hr), 3 days off, 4 Nights (12hr), 7 days off, 3 Nights (12 hr), 4 days off, 4 Days (12 hr), 2 days off, 4 Training Days (8 hr), 1 day off.  Repeat.  This doesn't include overtime days.

High pressure?  You better know what you're doing if you're in the control room.  If everything is running smoothly, it could probably bore you to tears, but that is a good thing. 

mhs25

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Re: nrc vs. power industry
« Reply #10 on: Nov 26, 2012, 11:12 »
I wanted to bump this thread since I haven't seen anything more recent about the NRC NSPDP.  I'm graduating in May and have been looking at several different possible jobs for when I graduate. Is anyone familiar with this program?

How does working at the NRC compare to being an engineer at a utility?  How does career progression and training compare?

Since I'm only 22, I put a premium on being able to live in or near a decently sized city.  I wouldn't want to go anywhere near DC, but I'm from Atlanta and I think DFW would be pretty cool I think.  They may not be as cheap as most plant sites, but they're pretty cheap as far as cities go.

 


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