nuclear science career

Career in Nuclear Science

Yashwant Kale Career Guidance Leave a Comment

The feedstock for energy plants that use fossil fuels is rapidly diminishing. Nuclear power is considered the future for catering to the world’s energy needs. Apart from power generation, nuclear science has applicability in medicine, food irradiation, space, plasma physics, computer aided tomography, defense research, etc. India has ambitious plans to boost nuclear power generation and, therefore, there will be a huge need for trained personnel in the field of nuclear science.

Industry prospects

In the year 2010, India generated 4750 MW of electricity by operating 20 nuclear reactors located in 6 nuclear plants;
Government of India has drawn up a blueprint to generate 63,000 MW of power by the year 2032;
The short term target is 10,080 MW of power generation by 2017;
From 2.90% of aggregate power generation in 2010, the share of nuclear is planned to be ramped up to 9% over the next 25 years;
The nuclear power program in India has been indigenously developed;
Given the future expansion plans, employment opportunities in the sector are expected to multiply


Options after 12th standard

Eligibility criterion for admission to an undergraduate course in nuclear engineering is a 10+2 or equivalent qualification with physics, chemistry, mathematics and English. Admission to the course is offered on the basis of performance in the entrance examination. The duration of the course is 4 years. On successful completion of the course, the student is awarded a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) degree.

Options after graduation

After the graduate course, students may opt to take up a post graduate course. Admissions to post graduate course are offered depending upon scores achieved in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). The duration of the post graduate course is 2 years.

Leading institutes and colleges

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras;
School of Nuclear Energy, Gandhinagar;
SRM University, Chennai;
Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences ( Nuclear Medicine Technology);
Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai;
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur;
Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai;
Sastra University, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehra Dun;
Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada;
Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phoole University, Jaipur;
MIOT Academy of Al;lied Health Science ( Nuclear Medicine Technology);

Bhabha Engineering Research Institute, Bhopal offers a 1 year intensive in-house training that culminates in the award of a Certificate in Nuclear Science and Engineering. Graduates (not more than 26 years of age) in mechanical / instrumentation / chemical / electronics / electrical engineering are eligible. Admission to the course is on the basis of GATE score.

Job profile

Design and development, operation and maintenance of nuclear devices for generation of nuclear power;
Development and deployment of imaging technology for use in diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and medical conditions;
Research and development of power sources for space exploration;
processing of nuclear fuels;
Developing techniques and protocols for the safe disposal of radioactive waste;
Research into nuclear fusion;
Development of nuclear reactors.


The job of a nuclear engineer is substantially field oriented rather than desk bound. The employee will be a part of a team of engineers, plant workers and technicians.

Employability Skills (based on a score of 100)

Good analytical ability

Ability to think out-of-the-box

Excellent mathematical skill set

Passionate interest in science and technology

Well organized and methodical

Up to date knowledge of safety and environmental issues

Prospective Employers

Employment opportunities are available in nuclear power plants, medicine technology (diagnostic and treatment spheres) , defense, food industry, Research & Development, education field as lecturers and professors,
Generally, recruitment is at the entry level as trainees.

Leading Employers

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Mumbai, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), New Delhi, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, Hyderabad, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, and Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), etc.

Compensation Packages

A fresh graduate could expect to start his career in a public sector undertaking as a Scientific Officer in a monthly pay scale of Rs.15,000/- to Rs.39,100/-. He could even aspire, over a period of time to reach the post of Director with monthly salary of Rs.80,000/-
Private players offer employment as Assistant Engineer to fresh graduates. The annual package of compensation ranges from Rs.5.00 lakh to Rs.7.50 lakh.
Pay scales in the public sector undertakings may be lower but facilities such as accommodation, dearness allowance, travel allowance, etc. are also admissible.

Pluses and minuses


Financially rewarding career;
Increasing opportunities for career growth in view of rapid growth of the sector;
Opportunity to stay in tune with state of the art technology in healthcare and energy sectors;


Considerable expenditure to acquire educational qualifications;
Health hazards from possible exposure to radiation;
Enormous pressure to meet deadlines.

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