Reactor Systems Engineer - Direct Hire Authority

Rockville, Maryland
Nov 22, 2022
Nov 30, 2022
Full Time

As Reactor Systems Engineer at the full performance level of the position, you will conduct and coordinate specialized research and analysis in the development, maintenance, and application of transient coupled neutronic, thermal-hydraulic, and fuel performance computer codes to support the resolution of relevant technical issues. You will provide coordination, planning, development, and technical direction of relevant safety research programs. Typical duties include but not limited to:

1. Performs routine studies of detailed thermal-hydraulic, neutronic, and nuclear fuel performance behavior using advanced multiphysics computational codes (e.g., TRACE PARCS-BISON and TRACE-PARCS-FAST and the NRC Blue Crab Suite of codes for advanced non-LWRs).

2. Performs routine confirmatory calculations and supports reviews and evaluations of the safety and non-safety related reactor systems design, process design parameters, technical specifications, the reactor core, fuel and systems design, nuclear methods, or performance of operating reactor and new reactor designs (including advanced non LWRs).

3. Supports the development of plans and objectives for analytic and experimental research programs to support the development and maintenance of constitutive relationships and correlations to improve the accuracy of code simulations and extend code capabilities. Performs detailed Verification and Validation studies to evaluate the applicability of NRC computer codes to proposed regulatory uses.

4. Prepares and delivers presentations for technical and programmatic review meetings. Attends and participates in technical conferences and seminars sponsored by the NRC and/or professional societies for addressing reactor safety and thermal hydraulic code issues, as requested.

5. May be required to manage contracts with the National Laboratories (Department of Energy), other Government agencies, academic institutions, and private contractors in support of licensing reviews. May serve as a COR (Contract Officer Representative) and manage programs and contracts.


Conditions of Employment

  • This is a Drug Testing position.
  • U.S. Citizenship Required
  • Background investigation leading to a clearance is required for new hires.

To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the NRC will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. Therefore, to the extent that an NRC job announcement includes the requirement that applicants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 pursuant to Executive Order 14043, that requirement does not currently apply.

You must meet the qualifications for this position by no later than 30 calendar days after the closing date of this announcement and before placement in the position.


In order to qualify for this position, you must have at least one year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level in the Federal service or equivalent experience in the private or public sector.

For the GG-11 level:

To qualify at the GG-11 grade level, you must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GG-09 grade level which is defined as experience that demonstrates the knowledge of computer languages (e.g. Fortran and/or C++) and/or knowledge of one or more of the following areas of reactor and nuclear power plant systems design and analysis: neutronics, thermal-hydraulics, or fuel performance.


3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree OR a Ph.D. OR equivalent doctoral degree.

For the GG-12 level:

To qualify at the GG-12 grade level, you must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GG-11 grade level, which is defined as experience that demonstrates computer language coding experience (e.g. Fortran and/or C++) and/or technical knowledge or experience in one or more of the following areas: neutronics, thermal-hydraulics, or fuel performance. In particular experience coding and maintaining codes for scientific and technical applications particularly relating to one or more of the following areas: neutronics, thermal-hydraulics, or fuel performance.

For the GG-13 level:

To qualify at the GG-13 grade level, you must have at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GG-12 grade level which is defined as experience that demonstrates computer language coding experience (e.g. Fortran and/or C++) and/or experience in one or more of the following areas associated with reactor and nuclear power plant systems design and analysis: neutronics, thermal-hydraulics, or fuel performance. In particular experience performing innovative scientific and technical computer code development and maintenance for scientific and technical applications particularly relating to one or more of the following areas: neutronics, thermal-hydraulics, or fuel performance.

The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate the following:

1. Demonstrated knowledge of engineering principles and mathematical models and methods for steady state and transient analysis of nuclear reactor neutronics, thermal hydraulic systems and reactor fuel designs, particularly related to development, maintenance, assessment, and application of analytical codes for the analysis of PWRs, BWRs, research and test reactors, and/or advanced non-LWR reactor systems and nuclear fuel designs. Examples may include your experience in applying your knowledge in research programs in areas such as nuclear reactor core neutronics, reactor coolant thermal hydraulic systems, and nuclear fuel performance under normal and postulated off-normal conditions (e.g., Anticipated Transient Without SCRAM), design basis accident conditions (e.g., LOCA), and severe accident conditions to support the safety assessment of nuclear power plants.

2. Demonstrated skill of computer code planning, development, maintenance, assessment, and application for analytical codes including skills with code development tools , and the ability to maintain neutronic and thermal hydraulic reactor systems codes and fuel performance codes to meet emerging analysis needs introduced by new advanced non-LWR systems and new fuel design features. Examples may include your experience of computer code planning, development, maintenance, assessment, and application that you have led or been involved in including identification of code improvements, modification of code structure, verification testing, and related documentation. Examples may also include your specific role and specific work products that reflect your technical knowledge and contribution to the projects. Examples may also include your experience of your knowledge computer programming languages and code development tools such as: Fortran C++, Python, Microsoft Visual Studio, Intel Fortran and GFORTRAN compilers at or greater than the FORTRAN 2008 standard. Examples also include experience with analytical codes such as TRACE, PARCS, SAM, GRIFFIN, FAST, BISON, SNAP or frameworks such as MOOSE.

3. Demonstrated skill in preparing contracts to support complex technical nuclear regulatory research programs and knowledge of administrative and policy issues to identify their effect on the management of complex technical programs. Examples may include your specific education, work experience and developmental assignments that demonstrate your skill in identifying, planning and acquiring resources for assigned programs. Examples may also include your experience in evaluating varied proposals and approaches to management issues and recommending and implementing changes for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of a program or project.

4. Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective work relationships with management and staff, coworkers, and personnel of other U.S. government agencies or equivalent industry organizations and/or international organizations. Examples may include your ability to use informal and formal networks to build support for programs. This may include your experience to serve as a point of contact on neutronics analysis or thermal hydraulic analysis or fuel performance analysis or new and advanced reactor designs, with other program offices, the Commission or equivalent industry organizations, advisory groups, international organizations, and/or other stakeholders, and your experience providing advice and recommendations on research areas and initiatives to enhance regulatory effectiveness and efficiency. Provide examples of specific assignments that required you to work within a team environment, the techniques used to develop effective working relationships, and your role on the team.

5. Demonstrated ability to effectively communicate technical information both orally and in writing. Examples may include your specific experience and accomplishments which demonstrate your ability to lead complex technical discussions and to consolidate complex and diverse opinions into concise, balanced and well-founded recommendations and your ability to produce high quality technical reports.

A description of how you possess the specialized experience as well as how you meet the qualifications desired in an ideal candidate should be addressed in your resume and additional space provided for supplemental response.


You must include an unofficial or official copy of your college and/or university transcripts with your application. Education must be from an accredited (or pre-accredited) college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. If you are qualifying based on foreign education, you must submit proof of credibility of education as evaluated by a credentialing agency.

Qualification for All Professional Engineering 0800 Series:

Basic Requirements:
  • Degree: Engineering. To be acceptable, the program must: (1) lead to a bachelor's degree in a school of engineering with at least one program accredited by ABET; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

  • OR
  • Combination of education and experience -- college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:
  • Professional registration or licensure -- Current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT)1, or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration. For example, an applicant who attains registration through a State Board's eminence provision as a manufacturing engineer typically would be rated eligible only for manufacturing engineering positions.
  • Written Test -- Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE)2 examination or any other written test required for professional registration by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
  • Specified academic courses -- Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and that included the courses specified in the basic requirements under paragraph A. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program as described in paragraph A.
  • Related curriculum -- Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a bachelor's degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions. (The above examples of related curricula are not all-inclusive.)

  • More detailed information about these alternatives are described in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Qualification Standards Operating Manual which may be accessed at the following website:

    Additional information

    These positions are in the Bargaining Unit with the National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 208, have potential Contractor Representative Duties (COR) that may subject it to the Confidential Financial Disclosure reporting requirements, and are subject to the security ownership restriction reporting requirements.

    The duty location of this position is Rockville, MD. In general, employees are expected to be in the office 4 days per pay period. Telework schedules are approved, on a case-by-case basis. If selected, telework will be determined in accordance with Agency policy and the Collective Bargaining Agreement, if applicable.

    The NRC provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Individuals with disabilities may contact the Selective Placement Coordinator for assistance with the application or hiring process via Deaf applicants may contact the Disability Program Manager by calling the NRC videophone at 240-428-3217.

    Individuals who are eligible for non-competitive appointment under an OPM special appointing authority may apply for consideration under a comparable NRC non-competitive appointing authority. Veterans, please visit:

    Selectee's will be required to complete a "Declaration of Federal Employment", (OF-306), prior to being appointed to determine their suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation. False statements or responses on your resume or questionnaire can jeopardize your employment opportunity and subject you to disciplinary action, including removal from Federal service.

    A transferable security clearance from another agency or a background investigation leading to a clearance is required for all new hires. To begin work at the NRC without a security clearance, you must be granted a temporary waiver of the required clearance, referred to as a 145(b) waiver. To be eligible for a 145(b) waiver you will need a favorable education verification, reference, credit, and criminal history checks. If a wavier is granted, the successful completion of a background investigation and favorable adjudication is required for continued employment. If you have resided outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, the agency may not be able to (1) grant the 145(b) waiver where the required investigation cannot be completed in a timely manner, or (2) achieve timely completion of the background investigation required for a security clearance.

    The NRC is a zero tolerance agency with respect to illegal drug use. Individuals selected for this position will be subject to pre-appointment drug testing unless currently in a NRC position subject to random drug testing AND will be subject to random drug testing upon appointment to the NRC.