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ESTEC Students Test for their Reactor Operators License

May 23, 2022

Two students in the ESTEC Nuclear Operations Technology program are now officially licensed reactor operators after completing their licensing exam with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

Ellen Jenkins and Jo Long were able to complete their license exam with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Upon passing this exam, Jenkins and Long will both be certified as licensed Reactor Operators. The exam is composed of three parts: a written exam, an oral board, and a demonstration of their operating ability. All three parts are administered by an examiner from the NRC, who traveled from Washington DC to give the exam. 

The students were required to demonstrate a mastery of a variety of topics to qualify to take the exam, including general knowledge of the ISU reactor facility, radiation safety, reactor theory, operating procedure compliance, nuclear instrumentation, and emergency response. They also spent hours practicing start-ups, shutdowns, and power manipulations at the Nuclear Engineering Department’s Aerojet General Nucleonics 201m (AGN-201) reactor. The AGN-201 is a unique, low-power training and research reactor that is designed to safely allow student trainees to operate under supervision. 

Being able to apply the nuclear theory from course work to the hands-on experience with the AGN-201 has been challenging and rewarding, according to Jenkins, who is also planning to complete an internship at Idaho National Laboratory’s Transient Reactor Test Facility this summer.


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