Oregon Public Universities


Classification Specifications


Classification Number: 3750


  Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 Step 8 Step 9 Step 10
Salary Range 18 $2859 $2971 $3103 $3235 $3382 $3540 $3710 $3887 $4072 $4265


The NUCLEAR REACTOR OPERATOR starts up, operates, shuts down, and conducts maintenance and surveillance checks on Oregon State University's TRIGA Mark II one megawatt nuclear reactor.


This is a single classification and not currently part of a series of classes.


  1. Reactor Start-up. Typical tasks: follows detailed procedures provided on a start-up checklist to start up reactor, manipulating controls in the monitoring equipment in the control room and at various locations within the reactor building; terminates the start-up if data recorded and conditions observed do not meet specified operation or performance levels or conditions.
  2. Reactor Operation. Typical tasks: reads daily schedule of experiments to be conducted, using the reactor to determine reactor operating levels required to irradiate samples during experiments; discusses nature of experiment and exposure times and levels with reactor user to maximize effective use of the reactor; inserts samples into the reactor; safely operates the reactor by manipulation of the reactor controls in the control room, while observing control panels and recording information from instruments for proper length and level of irradiation; extracts irradiated samples from the reactor and places samples in lead-shielded containers; enforces safety regulations regarding reactor operations and entrance to and exit from reactor area, by observing area for unauthorized persons, observing or listening for alarms, or announcing over the loudspeaker changes in reactor operations.
  3. Reactor Shutdown. Typical tasks: follows detailed procedures as provided on the shut-down checklist to shut down reactor, by manipulating controls in the control room, recording current conditions and readings from dials, and monitoring equipment in the control room and at various locations within the reactor building.
  4. Reactor Maintenance and Surveillance. Typical tasks: inspects reactor and auxiliary equipment and facilities on a monthly, quarterly, semiannual, and annual basis and completes inspection forms; with the use of a specialized reactor fuel element handling tool, periodically changes the position of fuel elements in the reactor core; schedules and performs routine maintenance on reactor.
  5. Operator Training. Typical tasks: when licensed to operate the TRIGA reactor, instructs academic and student personnel in the safe operation of the reactor.


Employees in this class have regular in-person contact with international and American faculty members and students to instruct them in the safe operation of the reactor; to discuss the nature of an experiment and the desired/appropriate length and level of irradiation required; and to verify approval to use the reactor.


Until licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) and certified by the OSU Reactor Operations Committee, the employee works under the close supervision of the Nuclear Reactor Supervisor. Thereafter, the employee works under general supervision. Daily operating assignments are received from the supervisor in the form of scheduled activities, with the employee expected to perform duties in accordance with rules and regulations of the USNRC (Title 10), Oregon Department of Energy, Radiation Control Section of the State Health Division, and the OSU Reactor Operations Committee. Work is reviewed upon completion by the supervisor for conformance to all rules and regulations and by the USNRC during unannounced inspections for conformance to NRC operating rules and regulations.


Positions require the willingness to work with the environment associated with the position's location and a willingness to occasionally lift and move lead bricks and concrete blocks weighing up to 100 pounds.


One of the following: college-level, vocational, or military courses in Reactor Operations and Principles, Electronics, and/or Radiological Health and Safety; OR a satisfactory combination of on-the-job training and experience; AND must be able to obtain a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Reactor Operator's license for the specific reactor within 12 months of appointment.

NOTE: The training and experience must clearly show: knowledge of nuclear reactor theory; knowledge of general reactor operating characteristics; knowledge of math sufficient to calculate algebraic formulas; knowledge of radiological safety principles and procedures; and skill using mechanical equipment and hand tools.