Nuclear technicians, power plant operators and subsystems
specialists are responsible for keeping vital Naval submarines and
aircraft carriers running. These highly trained, hands-on
professionals perform the complex technical functions that are at
the core of sub and carrier capabilities.
Their job involves everything from operating nuclear propulsion
plant machinery, to controlling auxiliary equipment that supports
Naval reactors, to maintaining various electronic, propulsion and
There are three types of Nuclear Operations jobs for enlisted
Sailors. Responsibilities depend on your training, interests and
designation. All three of these ratings are eligible to receive up
to a $40,000 bonus for first-time enlistment and up to a $100,000
bonus for re-enlistment.
Machinist's Mate Nuclear (MMN)
Nuclear Machinist's Mates operate and maintain steam turbines
and reduction gears used for nuclear ship propulsion and auxiliary
machinery such as turbogenerators, pumps and oil purifiers. They
also maintain auxiliary machinery outside of main machinery spaces,
such as electrohydraulic steering engines and elevators,
refrigeration plants, air conditioning systems and desalinization
plants. They may also operate and maintain compressed gas producing
plants. Nuclear-trained MMs perform duties in nuclear propulsion
plants operating reactor control, propulsion and power generation
systems. This job is perfect for Sailors with deep interest in
math, chemistry, physics and engineering-in other words, it takes
hard work and smarts to get you into the reactor room.
Electrician's Mate Nuclear (EMN)
Nuclear Electrician's Mates are responsible for the operation of
a ship's electrical power generation systems, lighting systems,
electrical equipment and electrical appliances. The duties include
installation, operation, adjustment, routine maintenance,
inspection, test and repair of electrical equipment. They also
perform maintenance and repair of related electronic equipment. As
an EMN, you're responsible for troubleshooting the electric
breakers and circuits aboard nuclear-powered ships like aircraft
carriers and submarines.
Electronics Technician Nuclear (ETN)
Nuclear Electronics Technicians operate and perform maintenance
on the electronic systems that make the nuclear reactor on Navy
ships run. From submarines to aircraft carriers, these Sailors
calibrate the actual nuclear control rods to generate power aboard
these ships. After your training at Nuclear Power & Prototype
School, you'll be part of a watch team that enables the fission
process, which generates steam for propulsion. Few can say they get
hands-on experience in a nuclear power plant just three years out
of high school-you're one of them.
Learn more about submarine service, or life on a ship.
As an Enlisted Sailor working in nuclear operations, you'll have
the opportunity to work at sea or ashore. Your assignment could
also place you in an intense, fast-paced environment aboard a
nuclear-powered submarine or aircraft carrier.
TRAINING & ADVANCEMENT
NAVY NUCLEAR FIELD (NF) PROGRAM
Upon completion of initial 7-9 week Recruit Training (known as
Boot Camp), those pursuing a Nuclear Operations role report to "A"
School for technical training based on their specific job rating,
and then move on to acquire advanced nuclear training.
"A" School for MMNs - The three-month Machinist's Mate Nuclear
(MMN) course in Charleston, SC provides a basic knowledge of
technical mathematics and understanding of the theory and operation
of a steam power plant. Students learn to operate tools, test
equipment and system components, read blueprints, practice rigging
techniques, and perform maintenance procedures. From there, it's on
to NNPS and NPTU (see below).
"A" School for EMNs - The six-month Electrician's Mate Nuclear
(EMN) course in Charleston, SC provides a basic knowledge of
technical mathematics and power distribution. Students learn to
solve basic equations using phasors, vector notations and basic
trigonometry and analyze DC and AC circuits. They also learn how to
operate electrical equipment using controllers, and how to properly
test, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair electrical circuits,
motors and other related electrical equipment. From there, it's on
to NNPS and NPTU (see description below).
"A" School for ETNs - The six-month Electronics Technician
Nuclear (ETN) course in Charleston, SC provides a basic knowledge
of technical mathematics and a good working knowledge of
electricity and electronics, solid-state devices, digital logic and
systems, microprocessors, and instrumentation and control circuits.
Students learn how to interpret schematic diagrams and use
appropriate test equipment to isolate and correct faults in
electronic systems. From there, it's on to NNPS and NPTU (see
Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS) - Upon completion of "A"
School training, MMNs, EMNs and ETNs attend Naval Nuclear Power
School (NNPS) in Charleston, SC. Here they learn theory and
practical application of nuclear physics and reactor engineering.
The six-month course provides a comprehensive understanding of a
pressurized-water Naval nuclear power plant, including reactor core
nuclear principles, heat transfer and fluid systems, plant
chemistry and materials, mechanical and electrical systems, and
Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU) - Following NNPS, MMNs, EMNs
and ETNs begin prototype training in their rating specialty at one
of two Nuclear Power Training Units (NPTUs) - located in
Charleston, SC and Ballston Spa, NY. This six-month course teaches
the fundamentals of a Naval nuclear power plant and the
interrelationship of its mechanical, electrical, and reactor
subsystems. Students develop oral communications skills, obtain an
understanding of nuclear radiation, and gain knowledge of the safe
operation of a complex Naval nuclear power plant.
For all nuclear power trained ratings, promotion opportunities
are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.
It's also important to note that specialized training received and
work experience gained in the course of service can lead to
valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and
certifications, Navy technical and operational training in the
field of nuclear operations can translate to up to 77 credit hours
toward a bachelor's or associate degree through the American
Council on Education. You may also continue your education through
opportunities like the following:
* Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance
* Post-9/11 GI Bill
QUALIFICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS
A high-school diploma or equivalent is required to become an
Enlisted Sailor in the nuclear operations field in the Navy. Those
seeking one of these positions must be US citizens with successful
completion of one year of Algebra, and who can meet eligibility
requirements for a security clearance.
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you're
currently serving, whether you've served before or whether you've
never served before.