Nuclear Reactor Operator

McMaster University, Nuclear Operations & Facilities Published: April 25, 2020
Hamilton, Ontario
Internship Type
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Salary range
$25-30 per hour
Hours per week
Start Date
End Date


The intern will be based within McMaster University's Nuclear Operations and Facilities (NO&F) unit, which oversees the day to day operation, staffing, licensing, and maintenance of the university's extensive nuclear research facilities, including the 5 MW McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR).

The intern will work in the Reactor Operations group, reporting to the Reactor Supervisor in charge of day to day operation of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor. The intern will be responsible for performing a variety of routine work, including starting up the nuclear reactor, monitoring reactor systems during operation, trouble-shooting problems with small equipment, and preparing samples of soils and rocks for neutron irradiation.

Duties and responsibilities

The intern will be enrolled in MNR’s standard training program for new Reactor Operators. Duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Monitoring and recording instrument readings; making appropriate changes to maintain correct reactor power levels
  • Monitoring a variety of parameters to ensure safe conditions during start-up of the reactor
  • Calibrating the reactor control instrumentation and radiation control equipment
  • Troubleshooting and correcting a variety of problems using diagnostic equipment
  • Detecting instrumentation and control system failures and malfunctions during scheduled and unscheduled events
  • Using various measuring tools such as multimeters, flow meters, temperature probes, conductivity meters, and level and pressure gauges
  • Using radiation detection instruments to determine dose rates in different work locations
  • Using a press and dye to encapsulate and seal samples in aluminum cylinders for irradiations
  • Loading and unloading samples from the reactor core
  • Attending class-room training sessions (MNR-specific engineering physics, MNR systems)
  • Documenting routine and unusual reactor maintenance procedures and repairs in a logbook.
  • Maintaining a logbook of sample irradiation history and movements

Knowledge and skills

The successful candidate will be a team player with good oral communication skills, a strong work ethic, and a positive attitude. The intern must have knowledge of:

  • Analog and digital electronics
  • Electronic circuitry & schematic representations thereof
  • Use of multimeters, flow meters, etc.
  • Diagnostic techniques (electrical & mechanical systems)
  • Basic aspects of process control
  • Basic aspects of control systems
  • Hands-on experience with mechanics or electronics

Education required

College diploma (3 years) in Engineering Technology or a related field.

Certification required

The successful applicant will be required to obtain the following certifications. All training will be provided by the employer.

  1. Nuclear Energy Worker status
  2. Attain "A status" access to the McMaster Nuclear Reactor (police check required)
  3. WHIMS 2015, Working at Heights, and other workplace-specific safety training mandated by McMaster University
  4. Radiation safety training specified by McMaster University's Radiation Safety Program

During the course of the internship, the successful applicant will likely also obtain the following certifications. All training will be provided by the employer.

  1. Certified Crane Operator
  2. Certified First Aid responder

During the course of the internship, the successful applicant will also work toward becoming a licensed Reactor Operator, a process that typically requires two years of work experience.

Eligibility criteria

Career-Launcher Internships are funded by the Government of Canada under the Youth Employment Strategy. For program criteria information visit their website.


Qualified interns are:

  • Post-secondary students and graduates
  • No more than 30 years of age at the start of the internship
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons granted refugee status in Canada*
  • Legally allowed to work according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulations
  • Not receiving employment insurance during their internship
  • Available to work for at least six months
  • Not previous participants of a federal youth employment program
  • Not employees of the hiring employer prior to the start of their internship (does not apply to previous coop students or student interns)

*Refugee protection must be conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Persons awaiting refugee status, as well as those who hold a temporary visitor visa, student visa or work visa, are ineligible to participate in a Youth Employment Strategy initiative.

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