Oregon Public Universities


Classification Specifications


Classification Number: 3751


  Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 Step 8 Step 9 Step 10
Salary Range 27 $4265 $4479 $4690 $4914 $5149 $5403 $5670 $5949 $6233 $6541


The SENIOR NUCLEAR REACTOR OPERATOR directs the activities of licensed nuclear reactor operators and participates in the operation of the Oregon State University TRIGA Reactor (OSTR), in accordance with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) facility licensing requirements.


This is the second level of a two-level series. Positions at this level require a greater depth of knowledge and responsibility in reactor use and safety and have greater autonomy in facility operation. At this level, additional responsibility for activities related to reactor theory, radioactive material handling, disposal, and hazards, reactor operating characteristics, fuel handling, core parameters, safety/emergency procedures, and administrative controls is necessary. This position has singular authority in assessing the safety of a proposed procedure and supervises installation of facility experiments using the reactor.


In addition to duties and responsibilities performed by the lower classification, positions at this level may do some or all of the activities listed below.

  1. Direction and Approval of Reactor Operations and Reactor Experiments. Typical tasks: Directs Nuclear Reactor Operators and trainees in the daily operation and maintenance of the TRIGA reactor and its associated systems. Performs the duties of the Nuclear Reactor Supervisor as necessary when the supervisor is not on duty, i.e., approving requests to irradiate materials, approving nuclear fuel movements, and approving access to secure areas around the reactor. Enforces facility safety regulations, NRC regulations, and operating procedures throughout the reactor facility in conjunction with the facility Safety Committee, the Reactor Operations Committee, and the OSU Radiation Safety Committee. Advises experimenters on the design of proposed experiments involving the use of the reactor; helps resolve discrepancies between the experiment and the operations that require reactor use. Develops special tools as required to improve safety and efficiency. Supervises the installation of experiments into the reactor and the removal of such experiments. Secures the facility for overnight or weekend shutdown in accordance with specific safety and security procedures and requirements.

  2. Record Maintenance and Report Writing. Typical tasks: Initiates first drafts of required records and reports regarding reactor operation and maintenance and submits to the Nuclear Reactor Supervisor for review and completion. Develops new procedures, as required, to reflect changes in previous procedures, experiments or equipment.

  3. Reactor Operation. Typical tasks: Performs all the duties of the Nuclear Reactor Operator as required. Schedules the use of the reactor and coordinates experimental programs that require reactor use. Has the authority and responsibility to stop any operation considered unsafe. Monitors reactor and facility status at all times, closely overseeing core reactivity and any system changes. Physically manipulates nuclear materials within the facility complex and coordinates handling with health physics staff. Responds to emergencies as required.


Employees in this class have regular contact with OUS and visiting faculty members, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. Employees give demonstrations and training or answer questions about experiments and facility usage, discuss the nature of experiments and the desired/appropriate length and level of irradiation required; and verify reactor use approval.

Employees in this class also have contact with NRC staff performing facility inspections or giving operating examinations.


Employees in this class work under the general supervision of the Nuclear Reactor Supervisor. Assignments are received from the Supervisor based on the daily reactor operating schedule, long term reactor projects, and facility development needs. Work is also periodically reviewed by the Reactor Administrator and audited on a quarterly basis by the Reactor Operations Committee. Additional review occurs during biannual compliance inspections by state and federal regulatory agencies


Positions require the willingness to work within the environment associated with nuclear reactors. Tasks may involve stair climbing and occasional lifting or moving of lead bricks, concrete blocks, shipping containers, or other materials associated with a nuclear facility. Employees work with radioactive materials and wear appropriate protective equipment when necessary.


  • Five years of recent experience as a licensed nuclear reactor operator, AND
  • Have or be capable of obtaining a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Senior Reactor Operator's license for the specific reactor within 6 months of appointment, OR
  • A satisfactory combination of on-the-job training and experience, along with required licensing.