The field of employment in the nuclear industry ranges from the nuclear utilities, via commercial organisations specializing in different stages of the fuel cycle and via nuclear service companies, to the vendors and developers of nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations. In Switzerland, nuclear power plants are operated by AXPO, NOK and BKW. Nuclear waste is treated and temporarily stored by ZWILAG. There are also some Swiss companies that offer services in the field. A considerable number of potential employers are found abroad, e.g. EdF in France. Potential employers also include reactor vendors and developers, as well as reprocessing facilities, uranium enrichment plants and fuel manufacturers, which are not present in Switzerland.
Another potential employer in Switzerland is NAGRA, the national research and service organisation for the final disposal of nuclear waste from nuclear power plants, as also from other industries, medical institutions and research institutes.
In the field of nuclear energy research and development, the Paul Scherrer Institute is the main player in Switzerland. Here, a growing need is felt for academically qualified personnel to carry out the various R&D tasks, be they in the context of the continued safe and efficient operation of the country’s nuclear power plants, or in the framework of international collaborations aimed at developing new reactor types. A similar situation exists in research centres abroad, as also with scientific-technical expert and research organisations such as GRS in Germany and IRSN in France. Last but not least, universities will develop a certain auxiliary need in graduates in the field.
Furthermore, appropriately qualified academic personnel are needed in national authorities and governmental institutions like the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI), the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), and similar organisations abroad.
Depending on the chosen optional courses, or pursued “track”, holders of the Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering will be equipped with strong elements of generic knowledge in specific areas such as energy systems, physics and materials, and thermal-hydraulics. This will enable them to start a career outside the field of nuclear energy, e.g. in conventional or hydroelectric power plants and related industries, in industrial companies or medical institutions applying nuclear techniques, as also in R&D teams in areas such as fluid-dynamics and materials science.
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