United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR)


Credential: Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR)
Credentialing Agency: United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Renewal Period: 6 years

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Nuclear Power plant Operator – Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) credential is for professionals who operate nuclear power plants. NRC licenses all professionals who either operate or supervise the operation of controls of a commercially owned nuclear power reactor or a test center in the United States. NRC regulates with a mix of regulatory requirements: initial licensing, including written examinations and operating tests, oversight of requalification training and examination programs, including enforcement. Reactor operators must demonstrate knowledge in three major areas: components, reactor theory, and thermodynamics. The license is only valid to operate the facility for which the candidate applied. Candidates must pass a written and operating exam.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR)

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Attainability:    high

Eligibility Requirements (View Details)

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience
  • Education: High School Diploma/GED
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Note: This credential may have multiple options for a Service member to meet eligibility requirements. Requirements listed here are based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

Exam Requirements (View Details)

  • Exam
  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Exam Administration (View Details)

  • In-person exam
  • Remote proctored on-line exam
  • Third-party test vendor

RECERTIFICATION SUMMARY

Renewal Period: 6 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

AGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

NRC
4935 Boiling Brook Parkway
Rockville, MD  20852

Phone: (301) 415-7000

Email: opa@nrc.gov

Other REQUIREMENTS

The Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Candidate must undergo a physical examination by a physician and be certified physically and mentally fit to be an operator. If candidate's medical condition does not meet minimum standards, the commission may approve the application and include conditions to accommodate the medical defect.
  • Licensed operator must have a medical examination by a physician every two years.
  • Licensed operator prohibited from using, possessing, or selling illegal drugs and from performing licensed duties while under the influence of alcohol or any prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal substance that could adversely affect performance. Licensed operator required to participate in facility's licensee drug and alcohol testing programs.

Written Exam

  • Components (44%)
    • Valves
    • Sensors and Detectors
    • Controllers and Positioners
    • Pumps
    • Motors and Generators
    • Heat Exchangers and Condensers
    • Heat Exchangers and Condensers
    • Demineralizers and Ion Exchangers
    • Breakers, Relays, and Disconnects
  • Reactor Theory (28%)
    • Neutrons
    • Neutron Life Cycle
    • Reactor Kinetics and Neutron Sources
    • Reactivity Coefficients
    • Control Rods
    • Fission Production Poisons
    • Fuel Depletion and Burnable Poisons
    • Reactor Operational Physics
  • Thermodynamics (28%)
    • Thermodynamic Units and Properties
    • Steam
    • Thermodynamic Processes
    • Thermodynamic Cycles
    • Fluid Statics and Dynamics
    • Heat Transfer and Heat Exchangers
    • Thermal Hydraulics
    • Core Thermal Limits
    • Brittle Fracture and Vessel Thermal Stress

Exam Preparation Resources

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) examination:

An additional resource is O'Reilly Learning Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources section on the Related Sites page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Testing Information

  • Exam Administration

    Credential exams may be administered in-person at a testing site, proctored on-line remotely, or have options for both. If an exam is administered through a test vendor, the third-party test vendor box will be checked. The following test administration options apply to the Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) credential where checked:

    • In-person exam
    • Remote proctored on-line exam
    • Third-party test vendor
  • For more information on the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) testing process, visit the agency website.

RECERTIFICATION

Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR)

Renewal Period: 6 years

The Nuclear Power Plant Operator - Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) credential has the following recertification information:

The renewal process (10 CFR 55.57) requires the certification holder to complete NRC Form 398 (Form currently being revised; once approved by OMB the form will be immediately effective) and submit it to the applicable NRC regional office with the following information:

  • written evidence of the certification holder's experience under the existing license,
  • a certification from the facility licensee that the certification holder is a safe and competent performer who has satisfactorily completed the requalification program for the facility (10 CFR 55.59), and
  • certification on NRC Form 396 (Form currently being revised; once approved by OMB the form will be immediately effective) that the certification holder's medical condition and general health are satisfactory (10 CFR 55.23). 

In Demand

This certification is considered in demand. The U.S. Department of Labor sponsored CareerOneStop's analysis indicates the certification is frequently mentioned in online job postings.

Click for external link to CareerOneStop's Credentials Center.

COOL Bucks

See your installation Education Service Officer for credential exam information and coordinating instructions.

COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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COOL Summary

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Some

Credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (at least one critical task but less than 80%)

Most

Credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%)

Other

Credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience

CA Eligible

This certification is eligible for CA.

Star

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improves the MOS technical proficiency.

Skill Level

The Skill Level reflects the level, based on MOS training and/or experience, the Soldier should be the most prepared to successfully earn the credential. See the Table Legend for details about each level.

Navy Bucks

Credential voucher or reimbursement for credential exam, re-certification, or maintenance fee has been approved for payment through the Navy's Credential Program Office. To get a voucher request form, click Menu at the top of any page, then click "2 Complete Voucher and Apply" under Credentialing Steps.

CG Bucks

Current Coast Guard policy states all credentials listed on CG COOL may be reimbursed assuming the enlisted service member meets the eligibility requirements as outlined in the Coast Guard Voluntary Credentialing Program Policy (COMDTINST 1540.1(series))

Early Career

1-3 years experience; Enlisted E1 through E4

Mid Career

4-10 years experience; Enlisted E5 through E6

Late Career

10+ years experience; Enlisted E7 through E9

Early Career

1-3 years experience; Enlisted “A” School through E5

Mid Career

4-10 years experience; Enlisted E6 through E7

Late Career

10+ years experience; Enlisted E8 through E9

Early Career

1-6 years experience; Officer O1 through O2

Mid Career

6-12 years experience; Officer O3 through O5

Late Career

12+ years experience; Officer O6 and Above

LaDR

This credential is recommended on the rating Learning and Development Roadmap (LaDR) for Sailors currently in the pay grade indicated on the icon, BUT MAY BE TAKEN BY SAILORS IN OTHER PAY GRADES.

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GI Bill®

Reimbursement for exam fees has been approved for payment through the GI Bill.

Note: GI Bill approval data is updated quarterly. For the latest information, visit the WEAMS Licenses/Certifications Search page. Make sure to select "Both" in the LAC Category Type drop-down before searching.

Click to go to the external link for GI Bill licensing and certification information.

ANAB (ANSI)

This credential has been accredited by ANAB (ANSI).

Click to go to the external ANAB web site.

ICAC

This credential has been accredited by ICAC.

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ABSNC

This credential has been accredited by ABSNC.

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NCCA

This credentialing program has been accredited by NCCA.

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IAS

This credential has been accredited by IAS.

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Low

May be difficult to attain: minimum education requirement is a Bachelor's degree, and/or minimum experience is 10 or more years.

Note: In some cases “years of experience” refers to time actively on duty or while holding a certain occupation or prior certification and not always in consecutive calendar years. Additional years required for certain preliminary stages may not be included in this classification. For requirements measured in hours, 1080 hours was considered a year. For days, 365 days was considered a year. Please review all prerequisites and requirements for eligibility, and additional information for details.

Medium

Moderate ease of attainment: minimum education requirement = Associate's and/or prerequisite and/or minimum experience = more than 2 years and less than 10 years of experience.

Note: In some cases “years of experience” refers to time actively on duty or while holding a certain occupation or prior certification and not always in consecutive calendar years. Additional years required for certain preliminary stages may not be included in this classification. For requirements measured in hours, 1080 hours was considered a year. For days, 365 days was considered a year. Please review all prerequisites and requirements for eligibility, and additional information for details.

High

Highly attainable: minimum education requirement = HS or less and/or minimum experience = 2 years or less experience and no additional requirements.

Note: In some cases “years of experience” refers to time actively on duty or while holding a certain occupation or prior certification and not always in consecutive calendar years. Additional years required for certain preliminary stages may not be included in this classification. For requirements measured in hours, 1080 hours was considered a year. For days, 365 days was considered a year. Please review all prerequisites and requirements for eligibility, and additional information for details.

MOS is Military Occupational Specialty
ASI is Additional Skill Identifier
WOMOS is Warrant Officer Military Occupational Specialty
AOC is Area Of Concentration Officer
Functional Area
Branch

Army e-learning

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NKO e-learning

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Bright Outlook – new job opportunities are very likely in the future for this job

Registered Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship program is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. Go to the Apprenticeship Finder and enter career path or location to find apprenticeship opportunities.

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Updated: September 30, 2020
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