The Job of a Navy Nuke
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 weapons systems.
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.