Nuclear Engineering and Planning Department
All reactor plant technical and safety responsibilities associated with shipyard work on nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers rest squarely on the shoulders of Nuclear Engineering and Planning Department personnel. These responsibilities include reactor safety and the technical aspects of all shipyard nuclear propulsion plant work involving overhaul, maintenance, conversion, refueling, testing, quality control and radiological engineering of the reactor plant. Engineers are involved in virtually every aspect of the work process. Based on component technical manuals, onboard shipchecks and piping plans, engineers prepare technical work procedures which detail the technical requirements and instructions needed by the tradespeople to modify, overhaul or repair the component. The engineer will closely follow job progress and when technical problems arise, the engineer becomes a troubleshooter, inspecting the equipment, conferring with the tradespeople and their supervisors and ultimately, solving the problem. This provides ample opportunity for hands-on experience. Entry level positions are available in the following divisions within the Nuclear Engineering and Planning Department:
Nuclear Material Management Division - The division’s mission statement is the "Right Material, Right Place, and Right Time!" This division is responsible for the managing of material procurement/ordering, storage, inventory control, expediting, staging and disposal of acquired materials in the support of naval nuclear propulsion programs. There are many material challenges executed daily to support the missions of our fleet throughout the nation and abroad. There are five branches within the Nuclear Material Division; they are: Radiological Shipping, Nuclear Material Support, Nuclear Material Ordering/Procurement, Special Material Identification Code (SMIC) Material Engineering, and the Radiological Material Engineering. Also, the division includes various staffing backgrounds such as nuclear, chemical, mechanical, electrical engineers and technicians, as well as supply system expertise.
Reactor Engineering Division - This division is responsible for the design, fabrication and use of all temporary services equipment involved in reactor plant maintenance and the design, fabrication and use of the numerous support systems required to perform the function of ship's systems disabled by maintenance. It is also responsible for design, fabrication and use of special tools involved in reactor plant maintenance. Reactor Engineering is also responsible for reactor plant radiation shielding including the conduct and evaluation of comprehensive surveys to verify shielding adequacy.
Fluid Systems and Mechanical Engineering Division - This division is the backbone of mechanical engineering performed by the department. Its responsibilities include all technical matters related to reactor plant fluid, auxiliary, and steam generating systems. Engineers in this division are responsible for mechanical components including valves, pumps, piping, heat exchangers, steam generating equipment, pressure vessels and the foundations of submarine reactor plant components.
Control Engineering Division - This division is staffed primarily with electrical and electronic engineers. Engineering responsibilities include digital and analog electronic instrumentation systems, control systems and rotating electrical machinery. Control Engineers spend a majority of their time troubleshooting problems and providing technical direction for work on the various electrical components and systems. They develop and review electrical test procedures and oversee reactor instrumentation alignments.
Test Engineering Division - This division determines and maintains the reactor plant conditions necessary to permit the overhaul, repair or modification of the various reactor plant systems. The Shift Test Engineer position is one of the most complex and challenging engineering positions at the shipyard. This engineer must properly balance the requirements of reactor safety, the release of work involving reactor plant components or systems and the testing subsequent to work completion. Additionally, Shift Test Engineers from this division determine and supervise all testing performed on the reactor plant. The Chief Test Engineer is in overall charge of the reactor plant test program and reactor safety.
Nuclear Quality Division - Engineers in this division thoroughly evaluate every facet of the shipyard's nuclear program through a comprehensive program of audits, in-depth reviews and surveillances. This ensures that all nuclear propulsion plant work at the shipyard adheres to technical specifications and requirements. After a detailed analysis of the results, changes and Improvements are recommended.
Nuclear Refueling Division - All technical responsibilities associated with reactor servicing operations reside with this division. These include removing spent fuel, installing new fuel, and servicing control rod drive mechanisms. This highly specialized and skilled work requires the use of a variety of tools and machines. Shift Refueling Engineers supervise refueling operations on the reactors from a technical and safety standpoint.
Nuclear Support Facilities Planning Yard Division - This division is responsible for technical design aspects of Nuclear Support Facilities (Controlled Industrial Facilities at Kings Bay, Norfolk Naval Base, New London and AS tenders). Responsibilities include maintenance of Norfolk CIF and 1475 Dockside Work Center as well as radiological maintenance of the shipyard Radiological Work Facility, planning and design of radiological facilities, training fleet planners, Quality Assurance Officers, and mechanics; maintaining fleet tooling; design, fabrication operation and maintenance of radioactive liquid waste processing systems; oversight of the shipyard nuclear barge program; and technical cognizance of submarine media discharge.