Operator Program

Summer Course 2016-090

NOTICE: The application deadline was September 13th at 11:59 PM


Have you ever wanted to know more about nuclear? Come and learn all there is to know by getting a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate the nuclear research reactor at UC Irvine. Let's answer a few questions about the prospect:

  • How's it work?
    You'll need to apply, and, if selected, you'll join the program starting in Fall of 2019 by enrolling in Chem 199 (undergrad) / 299 (grad). At the end of Spring quarter, the NRC will come to UCI and perform an exam, which, if passed, will grant the license.
  • Who the program is open to?
    As this is the first time this is being offered as a for credit course, our intial call is for undergraduate and graduate students of UCI, any department or school. As the program grows, personnel from other colleges, and anyone age 18 or older will be able to enroll as space permits.
  • How do I apply?
    Sorry but you'll have to wait until next September. Just follow the link and fill out the application. Selection will be limited since the program is just beginning. Indicate if anyone you know is applying for this program too and we will try to group you together.
  • What's the schedule like?
    Training is scheduled for weekly sessions of four hours. It will take three quarters to fully prepare for the license examination by the NRC. For a breakdown of the sessions as currently planned, see this document. Initially, only a limited number of training groups will be formed with more possible as the program continues.
  • What are the requirements? Do I need to be a science major?
    No, any major is welcome to join the program. Aptitude helps, but attitude matters much more.
  • What does it take to get a license?
    Really, just the will to study and make the effort. Overall, about 100 hours over a few quarters, and you can be a qualified and licensed operator.
  • Who's teaching this program?
    The main instructor is me, Jonathan Wallick (Navy Nuclear veteran and senior operator for seven years). I'm supported by Dr. Edward Jenner (assistant reactor engineer and senior reactor operator two years) and Dr. George Miller (reactor supervisor and senior operator for the last 50 years) and the rest of our currently licensed operators.
  • What do I get out of it?
    • Federally granted license to operate a reactor, given that you pass their exam.
    • 1.5 credits per quarter through Chem 199/299.
    • Knowledge, skills, and abilities not only related to operating a nuclear reactor, but many other fields. Check OnetOnline for more info.
    • An exceptionally rare experience, as there are only 31 research and test reactors still in this country, and only a few of them have a student training program.

Become part of a select group entrusted to operate the nuclear reactor. Learn and apply useful, real world skills while earning a federal license to operate a reactor facility. Take advantage of this unique resource to further your education and expand your training, while helping out at the reactor!