Reactor Systems Engineer

Rockville, Maryland
Apr 05, 2021
Apr 13, 2021
Full Time


This position is located in the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES), Division of Systems Analysis (DSA), Code and Reactor Analysis Branch (CRAB). The supervisor is Chris Hoxie. This position is in the bargaining unit and is subject to the security ownership restriction reporting requirements. This position has potential Contractor Representative Duties (COR) that may subject it to the Confidential Financial Disclosure reporting requirements.

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As Reactor Systems Engineer, 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. 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.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Occasional travel may be required.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

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

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 (12) in the Federal service or equivalent experience in the private or public sector.

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE is defined as experience that demonstrates the knowledge of reactor and nuclear power plant systems design and analysis, particularly relating to thermal-hydraulics and computer languages (e.g. Fortran, C++, Java, PYTHON, Lua, and Perl).

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 thermal hydraulic systems and neutronics and reactor fuel designs, particularly related to development, maintenance, assessment, and application of analytical codes (such as TRACE, SAM and PARCS, MAMMOTH and FAST, BISON), multiphysics code-coupling frameworks (such as MOOSE), and user interfaces (such as SNAP) for the analysis of PWRs, BWRs, research and test reactors, and advanced non-LWR reactor systems and nuclear fuel designs. Examples may include your experience in applying your knowledge to nuclear regulatory research programs on reactor coolant thermal hydraulic systems, neutronics, 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. Examples may also include how well you performed).

2. Demonstrated skill of computer code planning, development, maintenance, assessment, and application for TRACE and PARCS including skills with code development tools (such as: Microsoft Visual Studio, Intel Fortran and GFORTRAN compilers at or greater than the FORTRAN 2008 standard), and ability to maintain thermal hydraulic and neutronic reactor systems codes and fuel performance codes such as SAM, MAMMOTH, and BISON 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 of Fortran C++ and Python.

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 experience of instances that required you to use tact, diplomacy, and negotiation skills to achieve cooperation and develop consensus and 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 thermal hydraulic and neutronic analysis, and 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.


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

    Based on the staffing needs of the office, additional selections may be made through this vacancy announcement.

    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.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    When the application process is complete, your application will be reviewed to determine if you meet the job requirements. You will be rated based on the information provided in your resume and responses to any vacancy questions to determine your level of knowledge, skill, and ability related to the job requirements. If you are among the top candidates for this position, your application will be referred to the hiring manager.

    Your resume is the key means we have for evaluating your knowledge, skills, and abilities as they relate to this position. Therefore, we encourage you to submit a thorough resume that directly relates to this position.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    L Access Authorization

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    List of supplemental material that may be applicable:

    If you are a NRC employee you are required to submit your most recent Rating of Record (Performance Appraisal) or a statement saying that one is not available.

    If you are a current/reinstatement eligible Federal employee with status (Tenure Group 1 or 2), you will be considered under our merit promotion procedures and must submit a copy of your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) to verify competitive status or reinstatement eligibility.

    Veterans' Preference documentation, if applicable (e.g. DD-214 Member Copy 4 showing type of discharge/character of service; Current Active Duty members must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty under honorable conditions dated within 120 days; SF-15 Form and related documentation; VA letter.) You can find additional information about Veterans' Preference at

    If you are applying for a position that requires a college degree, you must submit your College Transcripts.

    If you are applying under the Schedule A Hiring Authority and wish to be considered you must supply supporting documentation. Documentation of disability is required, i.e., Schedule A Letter. Such documentation is used to verify that the individual being hired is indeed a person with an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability. This documentation must be provided to the hiring agency at the time of application, before an individual can be hired. Documentation of eligibility for employment under Schedule A can be obtained from a licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory to practice medicine); a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., state or private); or any Federal agency, state agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits. You may refer to the following link to view Proof of Disability Documentation (

    All supplemental documents will now be collected electronically and should be submitted BEFORE the closing date of this vacancy announcement. You have three choices for submitting your supplemental documents:

    1. Use the "USAJoBs" feature to download documents from your USAJOBs portfolio; or
    2. Use the "Upload" feature to upload documents directly from your computer. The following types of documents can be uploaded: .gif, .jpeg, .png, .rtf, .pdf, and .doc; or
    3. Use the "Fax" feature to print the Fax Cover Sheet and fax it, along with your supplemental documents to 1-571-258-4052.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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