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NEWS | March 28, 2024

Shipyard hosts Naval Reactors employees during two-week orientation program for new engineers

By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility hosted five Naval Reactors engineers Feb. 5-16, who recently completed Bettis Reactor Engineering School.

According to Ben Alford, Naval Reactors representative assistant at PSNS & IMF, this visit was the latest in the new engineer orientation program. Naval Reactors has been responsible for providing a U.S. Navy fleet that dominates the maritime domain with unmatched power and propulsion for more than 75 years.

“New engineers at Naval Reactors Headquarters take part in a training program approximately one year after joining the program,” said Alford. “The curriculum includes a five-month course at Bettis Reactor Engineering School, which is facilitated by our prime contractor, Naval Nuclear Laboratory. It also includes visits to various program sites including shipyards, prototype training facilities and the Naval Reactors Facility in Idaho.”

Alford said this visit is part of an ongoing effort to help prepare the engineers to effectively collaborate with maintenance professionals throughout Naval Sea Systems Command and the U.S. Navy.

“The engineers get the opportunity to meet with shipyard workers and managers and see in person how the shipyard executes its mission of maintaining, modernizing, and retiring our Navy’s Fleet, and how that aligns with Naval Reactors’ mission and regulatory responsibilities,” he said. “They take part in guided ship tours with project management, learn about program overviews from engineering code managers, take facility tours, observe work demonstrations, and participate in select hands-on training.”

Curtis Wright, special projects coordinator, Code 2300T, Nuclear Recruiting, Training, & Development, said the two-week visit helps the visiting engineers learn about the capabilities, processes and procedures employed by the U.S. Navy’s four public shipyards.

“We try to teach them about all the major types of work we do and the processes we use,” Wright said. “We want them to leave with a full understanding of what a U.S. Navy public shipyard can accomplish. This will help them in their future careers at Naval Reactors Headquarters when they interface with PSNS & IMF and the other public shipyards.”

Wright said the visit seems to be well received by the hosting shops and codes, as well as being educational for the visitors.

“I really appreciate how accommodating everyone is when I’m scheduling this tour,” Wright said. “Lots of groups are excited to demonstrate what they’re doing and are happy to answer all the questions the visitors have.”

The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program's responsibility includes all related facilities, radiological controls, environmental safety and health matters, as well as selection, training and assignment of personnel. All of this work is accomplished by a lean network of dedicated research laboratories, nuclear-capable shipyards, equipment contractors and suppliers, and training facilities, which are centrally controlled by a small headquarters staff. The Director of Naval Reactors also serves as a Deputy Administrator in the National Nuclear Security Administration.