Chemical Engineer, Physical Scientist, or Chemist

Rockville, Maryland
Sep 16, 2021
Sep 23, 2021
Engineer, IT, QA Engineer
Full Time


This position is located in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR), Division of New and Renewed Reactors (DNRL), Corrosion and Steam Generator Branch (NCSG). The supervisor is Steve Bloom. This position is in the Bargaining Unit. This position is not subject to Confidential Financial Disclosure reporting requirements. This position is subject to security ownership restriction reporting requirements. If additional vacancies occur, additional selections may be made.

Learn more about this agency


As a Chemical Engineer/Physical Scientist/Chemist in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR), Division of New and Renewed Reactors (DNRL), Corrosion and Steam Generator Branch (NCSG), you will be responsible for a wide range of duties including the following: Review and evaluate chemical engineering aspects of nuclear power plant systems needed for safe operation and safe shutdown of nuclear facilities subject to the NRC Regulatory program. Engineering reviews include chemical engineering and chemical conditions arising from normal plant operations and safe shutdown during normal, transient and accident conditions. Manage and perform studies and analyses of technical issues within the Branch's area or review, including water chemistry, fuel oil, neutron absorbing material and coatings for operating reactors, new reactors, and advanced reactor designs. Provide specialized technical assistance and advice to other Divisions, Regions and Offices. Participate in audits and inspections as a technical specialized team member, or team leader to support the oversight of operating reactors, design and construction of new and advanced reactors, and quality assurance program of vendors.

You will be responsible for performing evaluations of chemical engineering as related to component integrity to support applications for nuclear licensee renewal, nuclear operating plant, and nuclear new reactors. You will utilize technical expertise in the area of chemical engineering (or related scientific discipline) as it relates to the nuclear industry for: 1) reactor licensing up-rate reviews; 2) reviews of age-related degradation issues (e.g. component integrity and inspections, non-destructive examination techniques and capabilities, and operational assessment); 3) regulatory improvements such as development of generic communications; 4) management of technical assistance contracts; and 5) development of NRC research user requests. You will be the principle staff representative in meetings with the public, industry, and other government and senior NRC officials.

You will review chemical engineering safety and regulatory issues in the licensing review of operating reactor amendments, license renewal applications, combined operating license applications, and certification reviews of advanced reactor designs, under CFR Parts 50, 52 and 54. Technical issues may include leadership in the review of very large chemical engineering water chemistry, fuel oil, neutron absorbing material and coatings related evaluations; leadership in the development of significant regulatory guidance; the support for significant oversight issues related to chemical engineering; and the resolution of critical chemical engineering safety issues at operating plants. Apply risk-informed approaches as appropriate. Develop safety evaluation reports and/or makes recommendations within area of technical competence to resolve regulatory or safety issues.

Travel Required

25% or less - Occasional travel is required at 25% or less of duty time.

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 (GG/GS-12) in the Federal service or equivalent experience in the private or public sector.

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE is defined as: Experience performing chemical engineering reviews, analysis, inspections, or evaluating the adequacy of design and functional capability of associated nuclear plant systems and components as they relate to nuclear facility design, fabrication, construction, analysis, testing, maintenance, or operation.

The IDEAL CANDIDATE will be able to demonstrate the following:

1. Demonstrated knowledge of the principles, theories, and practices of chemistry and chemical engineering (or related technical disciplines) as related to evaluating technical issues in areas such as commercial nuclear power plants, Navy nuclear power, test reactors, or medical facilities, including application of chemistry and chemical engineering expertise in the evaluation of materials degradation and associated issues. (Double weighted)

(In your resume, describe your specific experience, education and training related to chemistry, chemical engineering or related disciplines which demonstrate knowledge of and experience in evaluating technical issues related to nuclear power plants, Navy nuclear power, test reactors, or medical facilities. Describe specific examples which demonstrate your ability to resolve technical issues. Knowledge of areas such as water chemistry, fuel oil, neutron absorbing material, and coatings.)

2. Broad knowledge of industry codes, standards and guidelines, and NRC goals, regulations, regulatory guides, Standard Review Plan, and policies, in particular as applied to chemistry and chemical engineering topics at nuclear plants, Navy nuclear power, test power reactors, or medical facilities.

(In your resume, describe specific experience, training, education, and skills which demonstrate your ability to develop, review, or apply NRC regulations, policies, and regulatory guidance in general, in particular as applied to chemistry and chemical engineering topics at nuclear power facilities, in Navy nuclear power, test power reactors, or medical facilities. Describe specific experience, training, education, and skills which demonstrate your knowledge of industry codes, standards and guidelines related to chemistry and chemical engineering topics at nuclear power plants, in Navy nuclear power, test power reactors, or medical facilities.)

3. Demonstrated ability to develop and implement successful approaches to problem solving in areas such as conflict resolution and project management (i.e., resolving problems relative to prioritizing, planning, scheduling, and managing projects).

(In your resume, provide examples of any projects or other efforts where you were the responsible for completing various projects. Describe professional experience with problem identification and resolution and give instances where your problem solving and conflict resolution skills were demonstrated.)

4. Demonstrated ability to communicate information, ideas, and advice in a clear, concise and logical manner, both orally and in writing.

(In your resume, describe specific experience, training, and accomplishments that demonstrate ability to: lead scientific and technical discussions and to explain technical and policy issues to colleagues and management, licensee personnel, representatives of Federal, State, and local agencies, industry, oversight groups, and the general public; make presentations to various audiences on particular projects of interest; and develop clear, concise, balanced and well-founded technical and policy positions and recommendations based on complex and diverse opinions and facts.)

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 may also be addressed in the vacancy question provided for your supplemental response. Brief (e.g., one page) resumes are discouraged, as they may place you at a disadvantage during the hiring process due to lack of information.


You must include an unofficial 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. If you have multiple degrees (e.g., BS, MS, PhD) please submit transcripts for each degree.

Chemical Engineering Series 0893:

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.


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.)

Physical Science Series 1301:

Degree: physical science, engineering, or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials, and electronics.


Combination of education and experience -- education equivalent to one of the majors shown in A above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

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:

Chemistry Series 1320:

Degree: physical sciences, life sciences, or engineering that included 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by course work in mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics.


Combination of education and experience -- course work equivalent to a major as shown in A above, including at least 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Additional information

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 skills, knowledge, 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. Do not submit an Award SF-50, it does not contain the information we need to determine your 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 requesting a special hiring authority, proof of eligibility must be submitted with your application.

All supplemental documents will now be collected electronically and should be submitted before the closing date of this vacancy announcement. File uploads are limited to 5MB in size per document. If your file size exceeds 5MB it will not upload. You can reduce the file size by using the reduce file size feature in Adobe Acrobat before upload. 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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